Monday, January 31, 2011

Buy One, Get One Free - Taco Night

When I saw these taco dinners on sale "buy one, get one free", I grabbed them right away. This particular kit was for both hard and soft tacos with seasoning, salsa and even a packet of Kool Aid.
At the most basic level, you can even start with frozen ground beef, add a little water to the pan and break it up as it cooks, then drain and cook as directed. I put big spoonfuls of taco meat in the bottom of the hard shells and top with shredded cheese. Stand them up in a pan and put them into the oven for a few minutes and you have little self-serve packages of meat and cheese that even the smallest child will eat.
To bump it up for adults, serve with sliced jalapenos, black olives, sour cream, chunky salsa and shredded cheese. The tortillas can become quesadillas or burritos or even enchiladas.
Bump it up again with grilled chicken or steak and sauteed strips of green pepper and onions to make fajitas. Add some tortilla chips, guacamole, Spanish rice, refried beans or grilled fresh corn, shredded lettuce and chopped tomato to make a complete meal.
Want to bump it up again? Make some Margaritas. You can make them in a blender, buy them in a bottle complete with alcohol or get the kind that goes in the freezer so that you can scoop them out like ice cream. Get some pretty plastic Margarita glasses and have a pool party. Hmmm, I should have bought more!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Pizza and Football


Shari and Joyce

Rick and Darlene

Pizza, beer and conversation

Darlene and Peggy

Ymmm! Pizza parlor pizza, beer and good friends. Oh, and football. I confess to not watching the game. Roger stayed home to watch it for real. I brought him a huge piece of pizza. Fun and delicious.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Rediscovering my Bread Machine

A gift of a loaf of oatmeal bread from my daughter's future in-laws got me started. I pulled the bread machine from the back of my counter and have since made two loaves of oatmeal bread (with raisins). Now it is busily whirring away with a loaf of onion dill. It is so fascinating to watch. First a few gentle whirs and then, when it really gets going, it almost seems ready to jump off the counter. No wonder my homemade bread was always too heavy. I obviously never kneaded it enough. I did have a reason to quit using it. The cord melted a little and Jaime's former boyfriend "fixed" it for me. The oddest repair I have ever seen. I admit that I have never investigated replacing the cord with a new one. It seems to work, but I worry about it. I remember when I got this bread machine. It was a Christmas gift from my little daughter many years ago. She could hardly carry it from the store in the mall. Thank you, Jaime. Anyway, I am enjoying it again. The recipe in my bread machine cookbook for Onion Dill Bread did not include the traditional cottage cheese, but I added 1/2 cup anyway. We'll see how it comes out. P.S. Onion Dill came out doughy. Probably not smart to mess around with bread recipes. I think I will stick with the oatmeal bread for now. I'm also planning to make dough for cinnamon rolls and cloverleaf rolls.
Bread Machine Oatmeal Bread
1 cup water
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon butter or margarine, softened
2 cups bread flour (I used all purpose flour)
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons dry active yeast
Add ingredients in the order given. This makes one loaf. I added extra honey and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. If you are adding raisins, set a separate timer for 15 minutes and add 1/2 cup at that time. This bread makes great crunchy toast with butter or cream cheese.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

French Dip and Whiskey Sour

We had a great supper on a dark, chilly night. It started when we were at the mall visiting the eye doctor and I thought of going to Ruby Tuesday - a bowl of onion soup, the salad bar and a whiskey sour. Instead I went to the grocery store for some hogie rolls, some sliced roast beef, provolone cheese, Campbell's onion soup (that's right!) and even some whiskey sour mix to go with a little bit of Seagram's 7 left over from Christmas. (I tried a sample one day in the grocery store using Campbell's onion soup and it was good.) So, I put a little grainy mustard on the rolls, warmed the soup and sliced roast beef together and sauteed a few extra onions. Then I layered the moist roast beef, onions and provolone cheese on the rolls and toasted them. I made salads and a whiskey sour for me, wine for Roger, and we had a great time, dipping and chewing and saying to each other how good it was. Good and easy. Then we lit a fire and settled in for the evening.

New England Boiled Dinner (Cabbage Soup)

Surprisingly satisfying, hot and spicy. I took the leftover Christmas ham bone from the freezer, added potatoes, onion, celery, carrots and water. I simmered this until everything was tender and all the chunks of meat had fallen off the bone. I fished out the bone and added a bunch of sliced cabbage, turned up the heat, and covered the pot until the cabbage wilted. Serve with warm rolls or toasted cornbread. YMMMMM!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Dinner at Bonefish Grill

Dinner last night at Bonefish Grill. I put on my jewelry and wore my leather coat. We met Bruce and Mary. Bonefish is one of their favorite restaurants. Roger wore his leather coat that he looks so good in and put on a spray of Joop. We had gift cards we had given each other and a Bonus Card for $20 AND a free appetiser. (Bang Bang Shrimp) Packed quite a bang. I loved them. Mary and I split a bottle of wine and a great house salad. Then I splurged and got grilled Chilean Sea Bass with lemon butter. Mary and Bruce split a grilled Grouper Fillet with Mango Salsa and Macadamia nuts. We had a great time and a great meal and left with a generous tip to the server and no cash out of our pockets. A true blogger and foodie would have taken the new little camera out of her purse and taken some pictures of the celebrants, the restaurant and the fabulous food. Since I didn't think of it, you will just have to take my word for it. Check out the menu by clicking on the link to Bonefish Grill. A great beginning for the new year.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Chicken and Yellow Rice for Jonah's Homecoming

I went to pick up my grandson after his Christmas visit with his Dad in Tennessee. It was my first experience at the airport since all the security changes. No one patted me down or anything, but it was still a shock to see the lines, have to take off my shoes, etc. I didn't realize I had to get a gate pass just to go pick up the kid. The plane was delayed for two hours. But there he was at last. His mom and Aaron planned to take him out to dinner, but he chose to stay at Grandma's house and eat plain old chicken and yellow rice. So glad I thought to make it even though Roger is kind of tired of it now. Jonah had two big plates and then a big bowl of strawberry shortcake. They were the first strawberries I bought this season. They were kind of small and a little green at the top, but very sweet. They were picked early because of the freezing weather. At the moment, it is warm again. Both Roger and Jonah liked the strawberries. Then Jonah turned on the TV in the "man room" and fell sound asleep. This morning he is safely back in school and everyone is home again.