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Cook Everyday and Stay Sane





Updated: 2015-09-16T23:18:59.723-07:00

 



Quick, good food!

2009-06-11T00:21:30.294-07:00

These are a few of my favorite things...
(image) You know those little peppers in the bag at Costco? I LOVE to saute them in a very hot pan with a little olive oil, until charred, then add a 1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegar to finish them off... Take them off the heat to cool and wilt, and then... just pop them in your mouth!
sooooo good!!!
(image) My favorite topping for Garlic and Olive oil pasta??? 1/2 inch thick sliced, and charred Zucchini...
Oh man... who needs meat when you can eat these bad boys along with the pasta!
(image) Mmmmm.... fresh Salmon, simmering in a Balsamic glaze... only 3 minutes a side and you are done!!!! Also great in the oven over a bed a veggies!!!



Pasta night!

2009-05-27T17:15:29.582-07:00

My Mama brought me over and HUGE zucchini.
So, it will be tonight's dinner.
*
I will be slicing it into about 1/2 inch thick round slices,
and putting them into a pan with a little olive oil and salt and wilting them.
*
In the meantime, I will be boiling water for pasta.
*
When Zucchini is done, and pasta is al dente...
I will combine the two and sprinkle with Pecorino Romano shaved cheese.
*
Add a quick salad and come crusty bread... and heaven is waiting!



Home made fries

2009-05-17T23:43:08.697-07:00

I really need to post more often on here...
I cook dinner almost every. single. night...
How hard can it be to post a recipe?
It's not!
I'm just lazy busy!
Okay... who am I kidding... I'm lazy...
I'll be better...
***
We had a friend of the boys over for dinner tonight... a kid from Alex's baseball team.
I WAS going to make my family's favorite pasta dish... Peasant Pasta...
but the last time he ate over for dinner and I had a vegetable stuffed Ravioli for the main course...
the child PUT RANCH DRESSING ON THEM TO MASK THE FLAVOR OF THE VEGGIES...
so... needless to say... I scraped the planned meal and stored it for tomorrow night and tonight
made homemade burgers and fries.
***
I made the hamburger buns too... from my Artisan Bread bucket recipe... see
my other blog for the recipe.
The fries... oh the fries... he loooooved the fries.
I cut a bunch of red butter potatoes into wedges, and sprinkled them with
Pampered Chef Parmesan and Garlic dipping sprinkle and salt...
Oh yummmmm eeeeee!
I wanted to please the kid... I didn't want him to feel he had to eat what we eat.
He loved the bun too.
Just plain ole' salt and pepper is awesome too.
No oil though... makes them soggy, the salt draws out the water so the seasoning will stick.
Enjoy!



Go to Pasta meals

2009-04-16T08:20:10.816-07:00

Holy Cow!
I don't know how you working moms do it!
I have only been running the Snack Bar for 3 weeks, and I'm pooped!
Sometimes to tired to cook!
Me!
I a cook, and I don't wanna do it!
***
Lately, my go to meals have been Pasta based...
Pasta cooks quickly, there are myriad of sauces that can be used, and with some
fresh, crusty bread, and a salad... dinner can be done in a flash... especially if you use
Cappelini... it only takes 5 minutes to cook.
*
Last night, I had some leftover zucchini, and a tons of onions, so I make a pasta meal out of it.
I sliced up the 2 large zucchini, and a huge onion in to slivers.
Placed them into a piping hot skillet with some olive oil and saute'd away.
Meanwhile, I had my Pasta water going, salted of course, and ready for the Cappelini
as soon as the veggies were done and crisp tender.
When they were both done, I put the Pasta into the skillet with the veggies, added a touch more olive oil and sprinkled with my New Pampered Chef garlic and Parmesan dipping seasoning.
It was good! Not overpowering, but good.
I usually don't use powdered anything in my cooking, but I had this on hand, it's new from the Spring season, and it was good!
*
I also love making a peasant dish using the same technique except substituting the zucchini for shredded cabbage.
My kids can't get enough of it.
We call it Peasant Pasta... because it's so easy and cheap to make.
My hubby will even make it if I'm away on business!



Quick Taco Salad

2009-04-06T07:41:00.318-07:00

(image)
(image)
I really need to get on the ball with this blog.
*
That being said, I'm going to post some recipes that have gotten me through this week.
*
One is my HUGE BOWL of Taco Salad for 6.
*
1 1/2 lbs of ground beef
1 large onion minced
1 bag of shredded cabbage
1 cup frozen corn
chopped bell pepper
taco seasoning mix to taste
salt to taste
chopped scallions
salsa
shredded cheddar and jack cheese
***
Brown ground beef, drain fat, add onions, peppers, frozen corn and cabbage and taco seasoning mix
and cook until cabbage is just wilted.
Place in a large shallow bowl.
Add a layer of salsa
Add a layer of cheese,
top with green scallions...
DIG IN!
***
The cabbage stretches the meat, and gives it all a great crunch.
Shredded cabbage is almost always used in Mexico for tacos instead of lettuce.
It's much more nutritious and is cheaper than lettuce, and required less
pesticide when growing.



Pantry Raid II

2009-03-23T08:40:11.158-07:00

It's Spring...
and that usually means Spring Cleaning...
and in my house...
it means cleaning out my pantry and using up all the food that has been sitting
in it for almost 6 months.
Why do this?
Because I spent good money on these items,
and I need to get our hard earned money's worth of what we buy.
~~~
You might be like me, and you might overbuy, say... chocolate chips around Christmas time because they are on sale... and now I have 7 bags of Nestle Chocolate Chips... and they are
taking up valuable room in my pantry.
So... to use them up, so they don't turn grey and taste "off" eventually, I am making a batch of Tollhouse cookies every Sunday Afternoon.
Not only does my family love this... I am saving money on buying sweets, making them myself, and using less butter, adding wheat germ or Flax seedmeal, and making them more nutritious.
***
I also overpurchased fish this winter... so before it gets freezer burn, we will be having
fish every Wednesday.
***
I will only shop for things like Milk, cheese, and condiments as needed, while I am
trying to get creative and make meals with only what is in my pantry.
~~~
It is a great way to develop new recipes, make better use of the money we spend, and
make room in the pantry for new blessings.
~~~
I also over purchased whole bean coffee, that we will happily be using every morning.
~~~
So... what's in your pantry?
Got too many boxed soups, or cans of beans?
Use them up before buying any more groceries that doesn't come from the perimeter of the
grocery store.
You'll be glad you did!



What's for dinner tonight?

2009-03-17T13:43:39.885-07:00

Mmmm What' for Dinner?
Well... I have some ground beef defrosting,
I have some corn tortillas in the fridge...
I've got cheddar cheese,
cabbage,
frozen corn,
taco seasoning mix,
Precooked brown rice I made on my Sunday Prep Day,
I think I'm in business for Taco's!
Oh, and also on Prep Day, I presliced some onions... so I can add those to the beef mixture also to bulk the meat up with some veggie goodness...
Now... the hard part...
How to get everyone home at the same time... to eat around the same table...
Hmmm....
Looks like it's gonna be an after game dinner, kinda late... but togetherness trumps time
any day of the week.
***
After tacos, they can munch on the chocolate chip/peanut butter chip cookies I also made on Sunday prep day.
***
I LOVE ME SOME PREP... LET ME TELL YA!



Time to Pay Yourself!

2009-03-16T00:13:40.323-07:00

Times are tough...At least that's what the talking heads have been saying lately. For me?I have always been of the mind that eating out and spending tons of money on ordering inisn't a good use of my funds... I'd much rather have great kitchen tools, or a great pair of shoesfor my money, instead of just one meal.Which is why I started this particular blog in the first place... a little over a year ago.Since I know how to cook, I do it often, and save valuable money.We go out to dinner very occasionally, mostly for Anniversary and birthdays. That's it.I even came up with a great way to save my money and MAKE myself cook more often.***When I felt the urge to just chuck it all, and call the hubby and say "We are going out to dinner", I restrained myself, looked in my cupboards for something to put together for dinner,and made it. I didn't like doing it... I really wanted someone else to serve me that night... but I did it.Yeah, I know... big whoop. You cooked dinner... I know, I know...BUT...I called my hubby back and told him nevermind.. I made dinner... then asked him this question...I said"Bill, if we had gone out... what do you think you would have ordered?"His answer? Prime Rib and all the trimmings.Then I thought of what the 3 boys usually order and myself.I tallied up what dinner out would have cost us that night, and WROTE MYSELF A CHECK FOR$120.00, and DEPOSITED IT INTO A SAVINGS ACCOUNT.That money was going to be used for ONE MEAL! for ONE NIGHT!Even if it was only $50 or $25! or even $15!It still goes into the savings account!We buy nothing on time or credit. Ever. Except our home and new car.Now... it's even easier... because whenever I want to do something 'easy' and pay forsomething I can already do myself.. I pay myself what it would have cost.Do you know how nice it was to walk into a store and choose the Front Loading, NameBrandall the bells and whistles, WITH THE STANDS, brand new washer and dryer setand PAY CASH, OUT THE DOOR FOR IT?We don't bat an eye when the boys say they need new baseball stuff, or new shoes for this or that...our Do It Ourselves Fund is right there and waiting for us.***My reason for this post?Do yourself and favor and look at your finances.Do you eat out EVERY DAY at work?Do you bring home dinner in a bag more nights than you care to admit?Does the Pizza Deliver Guy know you by your number and first name?Are you a Starbucks or Gourmet on the Go coffee person?Add those things up for one month. Go ahead... add them up.When you've done that... look around for what you have to show for the money you spent.Probably just some burger wrappers, empty coffee cups, and styrofoam containers from a left over lunch sitting in the fridge.Now... here is the hard part.The next month... DON'T DO WHAT YOU DID THE PREVIOUS MONTH. At all!PAY YOURSELF, IN A BIG FAT CHECK, TO YOUR SAVINGS ACCOUNT ALL THE MONEY YOU SPENT THE PREVIOUS MONTH... and make your own coffee, plan your meals ahead of time, and brown bag it to work... for a month.I bet you will be more than happy to spend that probably $500 on something other thanpaper, styrofoam, and stir sticks.***I urge you, my friends... take charge of your finances, and spend the money you work so hard to earn on things of LASTING VALUE!Purses... shoes... LOL, furniture, tuition, classes, sporting equipment, family trips...etc...***No, I am not saying eating out is bad. It's not. Lord knows I want to do it every night...but... it's just not feasible these days.Be kind to yourselves... eat around a table, not in the car or on the fly. Even if its only for 15 minutes.Share the time together.. and spend the money you save wisely.***This has been a public service announcement from Saundra...forMoney Mondays***Please comment on how you save money! I love to learn too![...]



French Toast... oven style

2009-02-05T13:47:02.452-08:00

Yesterday, on the way home from school, I do what I always do, and I ask
my boys if "Blah, blah, blah" sounds good for dinner.
Even if they say no... it's what's for dinner, so I don't know why I ask... I guess I'm a little
bit Sadist...
But yesterday, when I ask if "French Toast" sounded good, my 9 year old Johnny piped in...
"Oh Mamala... it's my fave... breakfast for dinner."
Well... that's all the help I needed.
But I was tired... I'm not sleeping well, due to Hubby incessant snoring.
So what did I do?
I made French Toast... but in the oven.
I had to homemade Baguettes that I baked on Monday, that were on their way to being stale and moldy in a few days if I didn't either use them or freeze them...
I diagonally sliced both up, whipped up a batch of custard consisting of
12 eggs
2 cups nonfat milk
2 T vanilla
Orange Zest of one orange
I placed all the bread into a large 13x9 stone, and poured the entire egg mixture over all the
bread, soaking it. (This is actually best done the night before, so it gets all soggy and gooey)
Then I popped it into a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes.
It was divine.
I served it with some sliced and cooked Aidells Chicken and Apple Sausage
and orange slices from our oranges out back.
So yummy!
I wish I had pictures... but we devoured it all so fast... when I remember to snap a shot...
Johnny opened his mouth and said...
"This is all that's left Mama!"
Nice.
I am raising them to be such little gentlemen...



Make Ahead meals... or Cook Once... eat twice!

2009-02-03T18:25:09.757-08:00

Let's face it... everyone seems to be panicking these days.
Do we really need to worry about what to make for dinner, on TOP of everything else in life?
NO!
***
I, for one, really enjoy the prep I do to ready myself for the week ahead.
I haven't heard too much of whether this helps YOU or not... but I have decided to continue with my message of doing today to save time tomorrow.
***
One of my bloggy friends heads over to a Dinner establishment and buys dinners she helps prepare at the establishment, so she can have them for those days and times I like to call
Arsenic hours or D-Days.
Going to those places is all well and good, but they can be pricey, and if you count in your driving time, gas, being away from home... it is actually a bit more than the cost of the prepared dinner.
***
But... make that same dinner at home, and split it up into 3 meals to be eaten at a later date...
now you're talkin'!
You'll save TONS of money... you'll actually cook three meals at one time...
AND
when you freeze things they are good for 3 months!
What a great idea!
***
I LOVE to do this with my Enchilada Casserole.
here's the recipe
***
1 large can Las Palmas Green Enchilada Sauce
1 16 oz container low fat sour cream
1/2 cup chunky salsa
1 can diced green ortega chiles
2 cans black olives, sliced
1 lb cheddar cheese
1/2 lb monterey jack cheese (optional)
1 packet or 1 tablespoon of Taco Seasoning
20 green onions, chopped
2 dozen corn tortillas
Cooked Chicken Breast or Shredded Beef, or no meat at all... (optional)
***
Mix the sauce, sour cream, salsa, chiles, 1/2the olives, and 2 cups of the grated cheese together in a bowl.
Get two big stones or casserole dishes with high sides that are at least 12x9
***
Place a layer of corn tortillas on the bottom of the pans.
Put about a cup of the mixture in each and spread around.
Sprinkle with green onion, a little olive and some meat if you are using it.
sprinkle with cheese,
place another layer of tortillas, and start the process over again until you have three
layers in each casserole dish.
Bake one for dinner tonight, and bake the other one and let it cool completely then wrap in foil,
date it, and freeze it for another meal when things are just too hectic.
Enjoy!



Dinner...in a pinch

2009-01-27T23:30:22.240-08:00

(image)
(image)
(image) Dinner.
The bane of my existence sometimes... when I don't have all the ingredients for
something I planned to make.
The pictures above depict the hodge podge that was dinner one evening.
I had broccoli, chicken, onions, potatoes, a small block of cheddar and some
ranch dressing.
I hadn't been shopping for a while... trying to use up the pantry items again.
So... what you see, is what we ate.
It was good... but kinda strange eating an appetizer as a side dish.
The very next day... I went to Costco and bought the entire warehouse.



Eat a meal TOGETHER...

2009-01-22T10:04:54.593-08:00

It is time to get cookin' people!
Families are in need of an hour a day of 'downtime'.
Dinnertime should be that time.
We all really need to set aside a dinner hour, for conversation, table manners,
catching up, venting, laughing, solving the worlds problems, and
enjoying breaking bread together.
***
It seems like the buzz words these days are...
"But our lives are so busy, we don't have time to eat together..."
I beg to differ.
We all have time and make time for what is important to each of us.
Some people watch countless hours of TV a night... time was made for that...
Some people clean their house at night... time was made for that...
Some people... like me... are chauffering their kids to and from activities...time is made for that...
Why can't dinner or any meal, for that matter, be scheduled in?
Can't do an hour?
1/2 hour is fine too!
Just make sure to sit down somewhere, where the TV is off, and the family has to engage in conversation. That's the key. No distractions.
Together means just that... together.
It breaks my heart to have heard and seen that some families will cook the meal together,
then scatter to different parts of the house to eat it, either in front of the TV, computer, or with earphones on, in their room.
NO! STOP THE MADNESS!
We are only together for a short period of time... then the kids grow up... and then what?
Do you want your grandkids eating in their rooms?
No.. of course not.
Buy a bag of salad, buy a Costco Roasted Chicken, and microwave some frozen corn in a bowl
and dinner is served.
You don't have to be a gourmet cook to eat dinner with your family.
Just make it a point to sit together.
You'll see how much you will want to please your family and yourself with
new things to cook, taste and do for the table.
Go on... give it a try...
Tell me what your family eating experiences are like.
If you would like help or suggestions on how to get them around the table... post the comment
here and I will answer it either publicly on the blog, or privately if you so wish.
Thanks for reading.
S



How to stretch food.

2009-01-18T08:39:09.892-08:00

Feeling the grocery crunch?Want to eat out more but just can't justify the expense?Want to know some tricks for stretching food to feed more peoplewhile adding nutrition?Step into my kitchen.You all know we rarely go out for dinner. It makes me cry to see $100 or more, being handed over to a mediocre restaurant for 5 meals.My boys don't eat from the kids section anymore... so it can be pretty daunting what they can pack away.So many times, I am looking at the dish saying "I can make that." or "Holy Crap... $20 for THAT!"Don't get me wrong... I do love eating out.My favorite meal is any meal I don't have to cook and clean up after...It's just with the boys in private school, the cost of everything going up, and myneed to have nice things and several homes, eating out is one luxuryI can give up and feel okay about.We eat out on special occasions, so maybe about 10 times a year.That is a LOT less than the 1-2 times per week most families eat out.So I have come up with things that taste fabulous, add nutrition, and stretch the foodso if the kids want leftovers, there will actually be some. The red, yellow and orange beauties are sweet peppers from Costco.The are absolutely delicious poured into a screaming hot pan of olive oil and about 1/4 cup of good balsamic vinegar. Cook until browned and they are a fantastic side dish. Add a pinch of salt. Taco meat. I add onions, shredded cabbage, and sweet peppers to it, then the taco seasoning.It turns a pound of ground beef into 2 lbs, with out fat or too many calories.I buy the leanest ground beef, so there is no fat to drain. Fries...I slice up sweet and regular potatoes, toss them in Olive Oil, salt and seasoning,and bake themI sprinkle Romano Cheese over them just before they are done...So yummy. I hope this was useful.More to come. [...]



New Year's Day

2009-01-09T18:23:52.002-08:00

(image) New Year's Day Fare
Homemade Guacamole
(image) Watching USC pummel whoever they played... and eating. (image) Nacho fixings...
(image) and Hot Taco Dip



Get organized to relieve holiday stress...

2008-12-17T18:19:44.189-08:00

Yes... I actually practice what I preach.We are going away for a week soon, and I have been prepping for the last 5 days for it.Just made all the lists, did the shopping, and now it's time to assemble the foodI am going to prepare during our stay.Here is my menu, and how I am prepping...Chicken Enchiladas & Rice**I am making them all ahead of time, cooking them, then we will reheat on site.To make it easier for when I actually assemble... I've preshredded the cheese, and pre cooked the chicken. Easy Peasy.I've precooked the rice, and all I have to do is add the seasonings and the frozen corn and it's done! It freezes really well.***Salmon Spread**Pre cut the green onions, drained the canned salmon.***Hot Dogs (Hebrew National, pricey... but the ONLY ones not made with butts or noses)**I chopped all the onions and bought a can of chili to top them with.***Corn Chowder**Cut all the onions, made the chicken stock, bought the potatoes.***Corn Bread Bake**Chopped all the onions, peppers, bought the chicken and apple sausage, and the best cornbread mix ever, Trader Joes brand.***Tuna Salad**Chopped all the onion (see a pattern here??? I did all the onions ALL AT ONCE. saved me a lot of time.)Chopped the sweet pickleMixed the mayo with Dill mix, grainy mustard, and salt and pepper so it is flavorful.***When I actually begin to do the cooking and assembling... all I will have to do is grab the items out of the fridge, and do it. It won't take me hours and hours, just maybe about 1-2 hours,and I will have 7 days worth of meals, for pennies on the dollar.These are just the main meals, and we will have fruit, lunch meats, salads etc... to round out the meals.It sounds like a lot of work... but when it is done over days and spread out into manageable parts, you hardly feel it!The last thing I want to do is do all kinds of cooking and slaving over a stove just before leaving for a holiday... that's too much torture.Breaking it down into bite size pieces is much more fun, and it doesn't feel so overwhelming.More tomorrow![...]



1 Comments

2008-12-17T14:30:46.712-08:00

Going to go back to the archives and get some of the basics for ya... stay tuned...



Get ready... get set... DON'T STRESS!

2008-12-09T16:46:24.078-08:00

Christmas is almost upon us.
Are you overwhelmed by all you have to do?
Are you wondering how you are going to get it all done?
Are you stressed about how you are going to be able to afford to buy the food and
specialty items you want and need?
***
Please don't worry about such things... and let me help you.
But first... remember this...
No one ever died because the table wasn't just so, or someone forgot to make a certain dish.
Breathe.
It's gonna be okay...
***
Oh! Just had an earthquake! A little one... but I felt it... Oh.. there are the kids yelling to let me know we had one...
***
Okay where was I...
Oh yes...
let me help you.
***
Are you the baker?
Get those pie doughs made and FREEZE THEM NOW! Yes, they are freezable,
and turn out lovely!
***
Are you responsible for side dishes?
Stock up on frozen veggies and create your own medley when the time comes to cook!
I microwave my frozen veggies in my Rice Cooker Plus for about 8 minutes
Drain the water that accumlates, and add a little butter and my favorite
Seasoning... All Purpose Dill Mix. Yum! and SO EASY AND QUICK!
***
Need to bring or make something sweet?
here is the Pampered Chefs Recipe for
2 step Fudge.
Ready?
**
1 can chocolate frosting
1 12 oz. bag chocolate chips.
Melt the chips on low heat in a non stick pan... take off the heat when they are all melted.
Stir in the frosting...
I SWEAR YOU WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO TELL YOU DIDN'T SLAVE OVER THE THAT FUDGE! I PROMISE!
Love nuts in your fudge?
Stir them in with the frosting!
Spread it all out on a baking sheet or casserole pan (8x8)
Put it in the fridge to set and cut the pieces in the size and shape you want.
***
You can make peanut butter flavored fudge by stirring and melting 1/2 cup peanut butter
into the chocolate chips!
Try different flavors and colors!
White chocolate chips and white frosting!
Pink Frosting and White Chips
or swirl them!
TOO EASY AND DELICIOUS!!!
***
I know.. I know.. you love me...
Send money. No coins please.
Applause is good too...



PREP 101 AGAIN....

2008-12-08T13:59:34.050-08:00

So many people feel the crunch of the Holidays... and get a case of the Have to's and Need to's.You know... theHave to... shop, wrap, visit, shop some more, cook an 8 course meal, clean, blog, knit, sew,and on and on and on...And all the Need to's ... I need to lose weight, cut my hair, do all the laundry, clean out the cupboards, iron all my clothes, etc...CHILLAX!The only NEED TO'S AND HAVE TO'S ARE THESE...***Love our family...Be kind to yourself and others...Do what you can/want to do, and don't stress the rest!***Dinner is NO EXCEPTION!LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS of people hate to cook.I get told this by at least 2 people at every single show. They, inevitably, buy the most products.Every time.Here's what I believe... A lot of the hatred of cooking is really the stress and worry of not knowing what to cook and not having the ingredients at the ready.Really, it's all the steps leading up the to the actual cooking that people don't like.Cooking is the easy, less time consuming step.Well... if you have been reading this blog for some time, and you haven't taken my advice and haven't been trying to look at cooking from my perspective... well then... I don't know what to tell ya. Hop on board.Prep is the way to Kitchen Nirvana.I promise.Meal planning is great. It's a great first step.You MUST go one step further though... to really get in the swing of things.You must PREPare yourself ahead of time.Let's face it... you wouldn't go for a drive without your car... would you?Or go shopping without your wallet?or play baseball without a bat? would you?No... of course not!So why enter your kitchen every night and start from scratch every. single. time?Why do that to yourself!Right now...Go get an onion.Go on... I'll wait...Tick tock... tick tock, tick tock... tick tock...Okay... now get a knife. Hurry!Chop it up or slice it now. Now! Go on!Put those bits into a zip lock bag and put it in the fridge. Go ahead... it won't hurt.DONE!Now... got grab some frozen chicken or ground beef from the freezer.Defrost it and cook it up, and place THAT into a zip lock bag.Now... how long did that take you?You are now free to cure cancer and promote world peace.See what I mean?It does NOT TAKE UP YOUR WHOLE DAY to prep food for another day or 6.The first time is ALWAYS the hardest. ALWAYS!You have just prepped the beginnings of eitherTacosChilimacSloppy JoesMeat SauceSee what I mean? Once you PREPare yourself, the possibilities are ENDLESS!No go on...Get your prep on... and report back here and tell me what you chopped, sliced, diced or precooked.I'll post my menu in a bit.Letti, this one was for you.I know you hate to cook... but girl... you need to make it easy on yourself.You live 2 doors down from me.Get your butt over here and watch what I do... and do it at home.I don't enjoy cooking either... believe me.I just like buying the tools and selling the stuff.I'm waiting...come on now...USE ME![...]



Stock up on Frozen Goodness

2008-12-04T14:40:10.081-08:00

Make mealtimes quick and easy...
I shop at Smart N Final or Costco for almost all my groceries.
I stock up on
frozen corn
peas
strawberries
blueberries
and
chinese type veggies.
That way... in a pinch, I can add... oh I don't know... say...
Frozen strawberries to my blender with a little fruit juice and make my own
"syrup" for pancakes. It only takes a second and it TASTES FABULOUS over pancakes or a white BOX cakes mix, instead of frosting.
The frozen veggies can be plopped into a microwave safe bowl, and nuked for a few minutes.
Add a pat of butter and a little salt... and viola! Veggies side dish!
***
I love the Pacific Sea boxed soups from Smart N Final, but they are boring for the kids...
so while it's cooking, I throw in some frozen veggies and it bulks the soup up.
Add some crusty bread and a beautiful salad... and Yummy Yum Yum!
Easy supper!
***
With all the running around, shopping, kid parties, soccer tournaments, practices, school functions etc...
Dinner needs to be quick, easy and delicious!
Frozen FRESH foods...
They are a Great Thing!



Stock up lists for Christmas

2008-12-03T14:11:24.639-08:00

Man... I have really got to get on the ball here, and get to posting on this more often.
Things are crazy!
***
I'm cookin' just not posting!
Allow me to rectify the situation...
***
Prep for Christmas...
Start buying now and freeze if you are not Italian...
Cranberries
Turkey
Frozen Veggies
Pie Crusts (if you don't bake)
Make your own crusts and freeze it too.
Butter
***
Non frozen goodies include...
Stuffing mix
Celery
Powdered Sugar
Flour
Sugar
Food coloring
Sprinkles
Cookie Cutters
Canned or homemade frosting
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If you are Italiana and do the Feast of Seven Fishes...
Stock up on these now and buy a little each week because it can get really expensive...
Shrimp
Baccala
Mussels
Clams
Swordfish
Crab
Lobster
Nutella
Panettone
Reggiano Parmigiano or Pecorino Romano Cheese
Good Olive Oil
Sun Dried Tomatoes
Crush Tomatoes (no seasoning)
Eggplant
Carne
***
Last minute
Buy your bread or make your bread fresh no more than one day before the feast.
More later!



Prep for Thanksgiving meal

2008-11-25T16:55:43.255-08:00

Thanksgiving is upon us!
Are you cookin' for 25 or are you keeping it simple with under 10!
No worries either way!
TODAY IS THE DAY TO PREP FOR THURSDAY!
***
Yeah... I know... I harp on prep ALL THE TIME! But do you see where that simple habit could have gone far by now? uh huh?
Today you can...
1. Chop your onions and celery for stuffing.
2. Get that frozen turkey in the fridge to defrost slowly.
3. Make that homemade cranberrie sauce, and get it in the fridge...
SOOOO EASY!
1 CUP WATER
1 CUP SUGAR
1 BAG CRANBERRIES
BRING TO BOIL, COOK FOR 10 MINUTES...LET SET A COUPLE OF HOURS, THEN REFRIGERATE!
4. Make your dough for bread and put it in the fridge!
5. Wash, clean and store your veggies and just cook them the day of!
See?
Simple!
All you'll need to do on Thursday is make a salad, buy a pie or two ( I would... I don't bake)
and mash some potatoes!
It's the little things that turn into huge jobs if left till the last minute...
Enjoy our holiday...
grab a glass of wine... and sip and cook for your family with ease!



More prep steps

2008-11-13T21:33:12.073-08:00

Oy!
It's been a while...I know!
I have been cooking and taking pictures galore...but the upload isn' working.
***
Are you doing you prep?
Are you spending 5-10 minutes each night getting ready for the next day's meals?
Even if you pre cut an onion... you'll be pleasantly surprised how much time that saves you tomorrow.
***
I have been setting out the breakfast dishes and utensils the night before, to cut down on the morning rush. We have to take the freeway to school each morning... and it is becoming increasingly more jammed each day... so saving a few minutes of bowl and spoon getting really saves precious minutes the next morning.
If you can stand it... set the table for dinner in the morning either before you get ready for work, or just before you leave for the day.
I swear, you will thank me!
One more thing you won't have to worry about doing just to get dinner on the table.
Hope this helps!



Breakfast for Lunch

2008-11-02T16:31:48.986-08:00

(image) Todays lunch... French Toast. (image) I always get these backwards. The men wanted pancakes this morning, and I just didn't want to spend the time, so I had a leftover, going stale, loaf of homemade bread just sitting there looking pitiful and ready for the breadcrumb heaven it was destined for, and made a lovely french toast instead. I paired it with fresh mangoes and juice, and OF COURSE! I forgot to get a picture of the finished product... and they inhaled them so fast, the plate was empty before I remembered. Tonight is chicken with my Apricot/Pineapple glaze.



Fake out Enchiladas

2008-10-29T08:59:45.715-07:00

(image) Made "enchiladas" last night, with some unorthodox ingredients.
Crud... I did this backwards.
After this layer, the cheese went on.
(image) chicken and apple sausage, onion, peppers and taco seasoning (image) whole wheat tortilla, beans on the first layer and a sour cream and green sauce mixture on top



Broccoli Salad Simple

2008-10-25T17:30:41.702-07:00

(image)
I know, it LOOKS like just a plain ole' bowl of broccoli...
But NNNOOOOO it's not!
It is so much more, and so tasty, my kids and I fight over it!
Saundra's Broccoli Salad
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
8 quarts of water
2 tbs salt
1/2 huge bag of fresh broccoli florets
or 2 big heads cut into smaller florets.
Olive Oil
Lemon Juice
Salt
Pepper
***
Boil the water with the salt. When it is boiling, throw in the broccoli.
Cook for only 2-3 minutes.
Take them out and plunge them into a large bowl of water filled with ice cubes.
(So they stop cooking instantly)
Drain and dry well.
Dress with olive oil and lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste...
and ENJOY!