Sunday, October 2, 2016

Well, Here's the Experiment..... Clean out the Kitchen!!

I decided this week to do everything I could to use up the things I have in my house, rather than go to the grocery store.  So, except for soy milk, I am not going to the store this week.  It's a week of experimenting.

I went through all the cupboards and the freezer and the refrigerator to figure out what I have and it's going to be an exciting week.

Oh, using stuff from the garden is totally acceptable.

I've been thinking about doing this for a time, and now seemed like the perfect opportunity.  
the first dish that came from my experiment, was a bit of a mix.  We had Vietnamese pho the other night and I had some rice noodles left over that I wanted to use.  

Chicken, Mushroom, and Eggplant Saute over Rice Noodles

3 tbs. olive oil
1 yellow onion, sliced thinly
8 oz. of crimini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced thinly
6 large cloves of garlic sliced thinly,
1 small eggplant, (about 1 1/2 cup), diced
1 pint of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
2 chicken breasts diced in 1 inch cubes
3/4 c. of white wine
8 ounces of medium width rice noodles
1 1/2 tsp of smoky paprika

grated romano cheese

Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan, and add the onion and the crimini mushrooms, saute until the onions are golden and the mushrooms have started to give up their liquid.  Add 1/2 tsp of kosher salt and a few grinds of pepper, or 1/4 tsp of pepper.  Add the garlic, and let it saute until it takes on a golden color as well. Stir in the chicken pieces and cook until done, Add the eggplant and the cherry tomato halves and saute until the tomatoes have broken down and the eggplant is tender.  

Meanwhile, boil water in a large saucepan, turn off the heat and soak the rice noodles until they are tender.  

Once the eggplant is tender, add the smoky paprika, and adjust the taste by adding any salt or pepper.  
After you drain the rice noodles, add them to the chicken and vegetable mix.  

Place about 1/4 of the mixture in a pretty bowl, and sprinkle with grated romano cheese.  Serves 4

My husband who was skeptical really enjoyed it.  

Today's dish from the stuff in the house is a green bean gratin.  

Green Bean and Tomato Gratin

2 tbs. sunflower oil
1 lb. of green beans washed and trimmed
1/2 small yellow onion, finally diced
1 shallot, sliced thinly
5 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly 
3 roma tomatoes, sliced thinly
1 tbs. Trader Joe's Every Day Seasoning (This is the best stuff in the world. It contains sea salt, mustard seeds, black peppercorns, coriander, onion, garlic, paprika, and chili pepper.)  It's super on everything.  
1 c. panko 
2 tbs. olive oil

Heat the sunflower oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add the green beans and saute until they are tender, but still have a bite to them.  Add the onion, shallot, and garlic and continue to saute until they are tender.  Add 1 tbs. of the TJ's Every Day Seasoning, and saute for another minute.  

Adjust with salt and pepper and then place into a lightly greased casserole dish.  I use an oval dish.  Take the roma tomatoes and layer them over the green beans.

Heat the olive oil in the same medium skillet and add the panko.  Toast the panko lightly and then spread over the top of the tomatoes.  

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 15 - 20 minutes until the tomatoes are bubbly and the panko is golden.  

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Hash Again.

I think I've done hash in this blog more than once, but my husband is a big fan of hash.  I had some left over potatoes from a meal we did at my friend's bakery, so I brought them home and used the venison from last night's venison tacos.  Now me, I'm trying to lose some weight, I didn't go the has route I went the taco salad route.  

Venison Hash

1 serving.

6 ounces of pulled venison roast, mine is spicy because I like it that way.
1 cup of diced fully cooked potatoes
1/4 red onion diced

Put all this in a medium skillet with a tbs of olive oil on medium heat.  Let it sizzle until the potatoes are nicely browned and the venison has bits of char.  Pull this off the stove and in a small saute pan, crack open two eggs. I get mine from a friend who has a friend who has chickens.  I always thought chickens didn't lay much in the winter, but this guy's birds are extraordinary.  Cook them over easy.  The eggs, not the chickens.  

Slide them on top of the hash and you have one tasty (I mean tasty meal).  

Taco Salad

1 small head romaine lettuce, chopped or sliced, or diced.
4 ounces of pulled venison roast that has been warmed in it's juices
4 tbs. shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup of cooked black beans
3 tbs. of good quality pico de gallo, or Roy's salsa if you live in Elko.  It is the freshest and the best.   

Put it all together in a bowl and toss.  If you'd like you could add guacamole or sour cream. I didn't have any and it's just added fat.  So there, weight loss fairy.  I told you.

Dinner in a Hurry

On Wednesdays, my husband I have a friend who comes to dinner! But life is crazy and complicated and I am always in a rush. I teach high school and during my free period I walked home (small town living) and put some dinner in the crock pot.

Last October, Rob shot a deer, so we have venison galore in our freezer. It's such nice lean meat. No fat to speak of. When we butcher the meet, and I mean WE, I like to make smallish roasts. I took a 2 lb roast out of the freezer and decided that would work perfectly for venison tacos.


1- 2 lb. venison roast
1 small red onion, sliced thinly
5 small cloves of garlic
1 lime cut into quarters
1 tomatillo cut into quarters
1 14.5 ounce can of stewed tomatoes
1.5 tsp. cumin
1 tbs. chili de arbol
1 tsp salt.
1/2 tsp. black pepper
14 ounces of water
1 good handful of chopped cilantro, stems included.

In a regular sized crock pot, place the onion on the bottom, place the frozen venison roast on top. Throw in the rest of the ingredients on top and cook on low for five hours.

When you finish cooking, the meat should literally fall apart. I remove the meat from the sauce and shred it. Take the remainder of the sauce and put it in the food processor. You will find this makes a lovely spicy salsa to serve with your tacos.

I serve mine with corn tortillas that have been heated in a non-stick pan with canola spray, lime, non-fat greek yogurt (because we don't use sour cream), cheddar cheese, and the salsa from the cooking. I serve black beans and rice as a side dish. And last night I served a modified Waldorf salad made with green apples, celery, a dab of mayonnaise, green onion, and walnuts to counteract the spiciness of the tacos.

I should have taken pictures, but didn't decide to publish the recipe until I tasted it. So good!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Meat in the Freezer

This fall my husband shot a deer, which is great, because we don't buy a lot of red meat.  Venison is the best meat you can eat if you are worrying about your health.  Or your weight.

Today I made a stew in the crockpot:

6-1 cup servings

1.5 lbs of venison stew meat, or venison roast
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 package of dry lipton onion soup mix
1 bottle beer, preferably dark
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into eighths
1 lb of baby carrots, cut the carrots in half or leave them whole for a rustic look
1 large yellow onion, cut it into eighths.
8 ounces of trimmed brussel sprouts
1 tsp corn starch

In a skillet, heat the olive oil on high, and then add the meat.  Sear it.  Add a bit of the beer to scrape up the good bits.

In the crockpot, mix the onion soup mix and the beer, add the vegetables, and then set the meat on top of it.  Cook on low for six hours.  The meat should be falling apart and the vegetables should be fork tender.  

Strain off the liquid, put it back in the skillet with the good bits, and on high heat, add the 1 tsp of corn starch mixed with 2 tbs. of the broth from the crockpot.  

Bring it to a boil, and then return it to the crockpot, heat the vegetables and meat through one last time, and then serve with crusty baguette.

So good, and so easy.  

Friday, January 31, 2014

How I Won My Husband!

Years ago, I had to fix a dinner for my boyfriend (now husband), his mother, and my parents.  What to fix that would please everybody was a dilemna.  Hence, my chicken enchiladas.

I still make these today, and will make them tonight to take to a Mexican potluck.  Here goes.

Serves 4, 2 each 
Preheat Oven to 375

In a large saute pan, cook 4 medium sized chicken breasts in 1/2 bottle of a Mexican beer of your choice. When they are cooked through, (no pink), take them out of the pan and let them cool.  Shred them, or cut them into small dice.  


4 medium sized chicken breasts
5 medium tomatoes diced with the skin and seeds 
1 yellow onion diced finely
2 tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tbs. cumin
1 lime
1 bunch of cilantro
1 small container sour cream or plain yogurt
1 lb. shredded cheddar cheese
8 - 8 inch flour tortillas
1 can of el pato red enchilada sauce, that has been heated on the stove.  

Heat the olive oil in the saute pan and add the onions, cook until they are translucent, then add the tomato and cook until they have broken down and it looks saucy.  Add the chili powder and the cumin, the lime juice and salt and pepper to taste.  Add the chopped up chicken and 1/4 cup cilantro.  Cook just until the chicken is heated and take off the stove.
To assemble the enchiladas, take a tortilla, spread 1 tbs of the sour cream on it, add 1/8th of the filling to the tortilla, 1 tbs of cheese, and roll it up.  Place in a square casserole dish and then repeat with the rest of the tortillas.  

Cover with the heated red sauce, and the rest of the cheddar cheese and bake for 30 minutes until the cheese is melted and golden brown, and the sauce is bubbling.

Variation:  I use this filling to make a great appetizer.  Use puff pastry squares in place of the tortillas.  Place the sour cream on one corner of the pastry square add the chicken filling, sprinkle it with cheese, and fold the square to make a triangle.  Dip a fork in an egg and water mixture, and press around the edges to seal them.  Brush the puff pastry with the egg wash and then put into the oven and bake for 25 - 30 minutes until they are golden brown and have puffed up.  

Sunday, January 26, 2014


My husband is an attorney, which makes for lots of long nights at the office.  Tonight was no exception.  We had leftovers.  Last Monday we drove back in from Reno and we had a roast chicken from the grocery store.  There is nothing better than roast chicken, Brussel sprouts with sauteed onion, Peruvian purple potatoes, and garlic.  It was so tasty.  

Brussels' Saute

1 lb of Brussel sprouts, trimmed and washed, and cut into quarters
3/4 lb of Peruvian purple potatoes (We got these from our friend Shannon.  She and her husband Rob, grow them out on their property.) Peeled, and quartered and then sliced.  
1 yellow onion, quartered and then sliced
3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
2 tbs. olive oil

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Never heat olive oil at a high temperature, it burns too quickly.  Add the potatoes and start them cooking, when they become slightly tender, add the onion, brussel sprouts.  Cook for eight to ten minutes until the brussel sprouts are tender and then add the garlic.  Cook for an additional two or three minutes, and then use a seasoning mix like Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute to add a dash of flavor.  

We had our friend Shannon over for dinner on Tuesday and I made pizza.  I love to make a good vegetarian pizza.  

When I make pizza, it's usually whatever we have in the refrigerator.


1 cup hot water
2 tsp. yeast 
2 tbs. olive oil
1.5 tsps of kosher salt
2-2/3 cup of flour

MIx the yeast and hot water together and let the yeast get foamy on top of the water.  This usually takes about 5 minutes or so, then add the salt and olive oil.  Blend with a wisk and then add the flour.  Knead for 5 minutes, put in an oiled bowl, and cover with plastic wrap or a towel and let sit for 30 minutes until it rises.  


1 can of garlic and onion tomatoes, 14.5 ounces
1 can of Italian style stewed tomatoes
1 tsp of sugar
1.5 tsp of italian seasoning.

Using a hand blender, puree the two cans of tomatoes.  Put them in a sauce pan on medium heat and let them reduce.  When there isn't a lot of liquid left, add the sugar and the Italian seasoning.  Let it cook for another 10-15 minutes.

Toppings for the Pizza:

2 cups mozarella cheese
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup of cheddar cheese
1 can of artichoke hearts marinated in water
15 pitted kalamata olives, sliced in half 
1 lemon sliced very very thinly
8 ounces of sliced mushrooms
1/2 purple onion, sliced very thinly
4 cloves of garlic sliced very thinly

Saute the onion and garlic, add the mushrooms and saute them until the mushrooms lose their water.  Add the artichokes, the olives until they just are warm.  

Roll out the dough, place it on a pizza stone or a pizza pan.
Cover with the sauce, top with all the veggies, the mozzarella and cheddar cheese, and then the parmesan cheese.

Bake at 450 for 25 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown and the crust is crispy.  

Wednesday was left over roast chicken and Brussels saute.

Save those chicken carcasses and put them in the freezer.  When you have enough, you can make a great chicken stock for the freezer.  

Thursday, Rob worked until almost 10:30 so we had a great Pad Thai from Costco.  What an easy meal.  Add a little bit of chopped cashews and some lime juice and you are set.  

Dinner out on Friday.  Rob brought home part of the huge prime rib that he  had for dinner.  

Saturday we had our friend Jeri over.  Her dad passed away on Monday and we wanted to see her to make sure she was doing all right.  
I made chicken pot pie.  I don't mess with chicken pot pie.  Ree Drummond's pot pie recipe is the best and that's what we had for dinner with a salad. I made an apple galette for dessert.  Pie crust dough laid flat, covered with two apples, unpeeled and sliced thinly.  Sprinkle with cinnamon, ginger and sugar.  Bake at 400 for 30 minutes. 

So, that leaves us with leftovers on Sunday!  A great meal with my sweet husband.  Nothing could be better.  

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

"I love it when we are all together at your house, Grammer!"

It's Sunday, and I am at my mom and dad's house in Abilene, Kansas.  The whole fam damily is here.  

Shawn, (that's me), Meriam and her husband Tate, their three kids, Hogan, Jadyn, and Tiger, Mom and Dad, Nancy and her son Keil, (Kolby her oldest was in Wichita, and Kane the middle one was in Kearney), Heather  and her husband Kevin, and their three kids, Malorie, Audrey, and Miller were present and accounted for.  

The night before we had decided on Beef Stroganoff for dinner.  I could eat this with a spoon, a fork, a knife, or any implement you have.  I love (that is not too strong a word) my mother's beef stroganoff.

Recipe:  (Although, it never tastes as good as when my mother makes it.)

This recipe is for 15 people with hearty appetites and very few leftovers.

4 lbs of tenderized top round.  Cut this into strips, and dredge it with flour that has been mixed with salt and pepper.  Brown this in canola oil in the largest skillet you have.  Don't crowd the meat, or you will get gray meat instead of that carmel brown color you want.   Take the meat out, but don't get rid of the oil.  

Slice three large onions and add them to the canola oil.  Cook until tender and then add the meat back into the skillet,  add 3 cups of water and 3 tsps of beef bullion granules and let come to a boil.  Back the heat down to a simmer and let cook until the meet is so tender you can cut it with a fork.   

Now not all of my family likes mushrooms, so we cook them separately and people add them when they are getting ready to eat.  

Some people serve Stroganoff over egg noodles, not here, we are rice people, and we serve it over a big bed of white fluffy rice.  5 cups cooked with 10 cups of water for this big group.  

The vegetable was a big bowl of steamed broccoli and we had Garlic bread to sop up whatever stroganoff gravy that was left on the plate.  

Dessert was Nanaimo Bars with Vanilla Ice Cream.  The recipe for these luscious bars can be found at the Food52.  
The most excellent thing about the whole day was that we were together and having a great time.  My dad, who has Alzheimer's was chasing the kids around the house and actually remembering their names.  He had a super time, even though it is hard for him to keep everybody straight.  My niece Malorie who is 16 told me that she loved spending time at Grammer and Papa's house.  It was a great day.  Full of laughter and fun.