Monday, October 20, 2008

Smells of My Mothers Kitchen

My mother used to make the best vegetable soup. I crave the smell and taste of that soup when it gets cool outside. I think I make a good (meaning very close) version to hers but I don't think it's as good. Maybe because things always taste better when someone makes it for you, right?

I love lots of cabbage in this soup so when Mark stopped at a Veg Stand recently and brought home this monster head of cabbage, I knew what I wanted to do with it.

Basically I brown the beef until it's colored and add the shredded cabbage, some chopped onion and carrot. I then add a large can of chopped tomatoes, beef broth and water. Mom would have added potatoes too, but, they make me fat(ter). I add salt, pepper, garlic powder, a bay leaf and some low sodium soy sauce. And I swear, that is it. It made enough where I have a container in my freezer ready to defrost anytime I want!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Kids Will Be Proud

....That I reached so far back in my memory (the memory that fails me every day) and remembered one of their favorite meals. At least I think this was! Sometimes they tell me (now that they're adults) that they just didn't want to hurt my feelings but if they saw ONE MORE quiche they were going to find alternative living arrangements.

Here's what I made Mark for lunch today!!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Grilled Shrimp

Have I told you about the meal we had in Cozumel in August? I'm sure I've told EVERYONE but just in case you weren't listening.....

To make a long story short we had an amazing meal at Casa Denis. We had queso with warm tortillas, pork tacos, chips and salsa, and the best shrimp fajitas I've ever had. The shrimp were spicy and cooked with a nice crispy coating of seasoning.

I've tried to duplicate but am afraid the only way to do it correctly is to haul the cast iron skillet out of the camper and use that to cook in. In the meantime, I like to grill my shrimp. Next time we go camping I'll try again using the cast iron skillet over a fire.

I marinated the shrimp in a bit of oil, water, and cajun seasoning (think it was Tone's -- one of those big containers you get at SAMS). It was more of a paste actually as I wanted it to stick to the shrimp as they cook. I decided for ease of cooking I would skewer them and add some onion of course. End result -- not even close to the meal in Cozumel but pretty darned good.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

More Football Munchies

This is definitely a can-opener meal. Sorry if I offend anyone, but, honestly I defy anyone to make a better plate of nachos.

My favorite nachos are a mountain of chips with dollops of beanless chili (ok, Hormel -- you happy now??), and a cheese sauce made with Velvetta and a bit of cream melted together. I may, if I have some, top with some shredded cheese. I pop the plate in the microwave just to get everything warm. Then I top with chopped scallions, sliced jalapenos (pickled) and then some chopped tomatoes and shredded lettuce if I have them. Tonight I didn't so they were topped with some salsa and sour cream.

These are slap-your-mama good!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Old Favorites

I'm an impatient person. The thought of taking each of those green beans and snapping off the ends....oh my gosh. But I do it. I do it because it's so worth the ten minutes (seriously it turns out to take only 10 minutes at the most...and yet I complain).

The best green beans in the world are trimmed, rinsed, put in a big pot, throw some raw bacon in that's been cut in about inch pieces, salt, pepper, some chopped onion and then another big scoop of bacon grease. You put this on the stove and bring it to a boil. After, reduce to a simmer and let it cook all day.

Now these are the green beans that are COOKED. Definitely not 'tender-crisp.' Cooked enough to make a good pot-liquor in your pan. Good enough to eat as a soup! Take a look....

I served the beans with meatloaf and mashed potatoes, making a very nice dinner and wonderful leftovers for the week.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


Mark tells me today that he has decided that he's not going to eat 'meat off a bone' anymore. So I ask for clarification, 'does that mean ribs?' No, it didn't. 'does that mean pork chops?'
As I kept asking, I found that it apparently only meant chicken.

Eager (albeit confused) to please I made some boneless fried chicken fingers with a garlic-horseradish mayo for dipping.

This was a good football watching snack for the weekend. I mixed some salt, pepper and a bit of cayenne in flour. Dropped the tenders in beaten egg and cream and a couple of drops of hot sauce and then rolled in the flour. Fried them in a large skillet with about 1/4 of an inch of canola oil until they were nice and brown and crispy.

For the mayo -- it was a bit of a tasting experience. Some mayo, a good dousing of garlic powder and a heaping spoon of horseradish.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Back to Basics

Sometimes you've gotta shove that pile of recipes to the side and pull out a classic. For a football snack today I thought Mark would enjoy the classic spinach dip -- right down to the pumpernickel bread bowl!

You can, of course, find the recipe on the back of the dried vegetable soup mix. We seriously ate the entire thing in one sitting.