Category Archives: Cooking

Boiling potatoes in the oven

Did you know that you can boil potatoes in the oven?  Intuitively it makes sense.  The oven is a heat source and it boils liquids.  But I had never tried it, until tonight.

We had to be out of the house tonight while a brisket was braising in the oven.  Normally I boil the braising liquid down and make it into a gravy.  But how to make the mashed potatoes if we were going to be here?  Well, the oven was going anyway so I figured I would throw the potatoes in and give it a shot.

I cut up some Russets into normal sized pieces, added them to a cast iron pot with water and salt and toss them in the oven at 325.  We got home about 1.5 hours later and they were perfectly cooked and ready to be mashed.

I’m amazed and shocked.

Now I’m thinking of all those times I’ve been boiling up potatoes to make mashed when I could just toss them in with the roast chicken or the ham.  What a great new piece of information!

Good luck ya’ll!

Advertisements

Paleo apple fritters

Well, sort of Paleo.  I have a plethora of apples sitting on my counter and I had a hankering for something special so I made some apple fritters.  I followed this recipe and just substituted gluten free flour for the regular flour and doubled the egg.  They turned out great.  I had the oil a little hot so they were too brown, but otherwise they were pretty darn good.

Apple Fritters

Fritter:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup chopped apple

Glaze:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons milk

Directions:   Combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, cinnamon.  Stir in milk and egg until just combined.  Fold in apple.  Pour oil into skillet so that it is approximately 1 1/2 deep.  Heat oil on high.  Oil is ready when dough floats to top.  Carefully add dough to oil in heaping teaspoons.  Cook until brown, about 2 minutes, then flip.  Cook another 1-2 minutes, until both sides are browned.  Transfer briefly to paper towels to absorb excess oil, then transfer to cooling rack.  Make glaze by stirring milk and powdered sugar together in a small bowl.  Drizzle over apple fritters.  Wait approximately 3 minutes for glaze to harden, then flip fritters and drizzle glaze over the other side.  Best served warm.

I paired them up with a roasted in a pan chicken that we all really enjoyed.  Recipe here.  And, the soup base for some chicken soup is already in the pot and ready to be made!

Update: I made the chicken noodle soup and it was enjoyed immensely.  I’m not sure if there is a better soup in the world than chicken noodle soup.

Bananas for bananas

So, one downside of my thriftiness is that I, on occassion, buy things when they are on sale that don’t always work out.  But, in my defense, it’s not always my fault.  For example, last week I bought a huge bag of partially ripened bananas because it was $1.99 for the whole bag vs. $.59/lb.  Normally this works out fine, but for some reason no one ate bananas this week.  So I ended up with a ton of leftover bananas.  I can put them in the freezer and wait to make bananas bread, but that is so cliche.

I couldn’t think of a better way to use them up than to make a dessert.  Bananas foster here we come!  Heck, who doesn’t love a dessert they can set on fire?

In case you’re interested, I found this resource online as well with 100 different ways to use bananas, though I got the bananas foster recipe online from the original place, Brennens, in New Orleans.

It was delicious.

Smoked fatties

You may have already seen this on my Facebook update a few weeks back, but I wanted to share it here as well.

I made this recipe again and I have to tell you, it just keeps getting better.  I used Jimmy Dean sausage instead of Country Home sausage and it was a lot better.

Smoked fatties

I cut these up and placed them into hot dog buns which didn’t work for the boys.  😦

And they didn’t seem to like it this time around.  Maybe I gave them too many snacks this afternoon.

Check out the link to BBQ Addicts.  I’ve tried this with ground pork without the sausage flavoring and it was not good.  Don’t do that.  🙂

Pasta possibilities

OK, is it just me or does pasta get underplayed here as a food choice?  It’s always displayed with a red sauce with maybe some chunks of vegetables and ground beef.  There are so many other possibilities.  Especially pasta carbonara.  I think that might be my favorite way to eat pasta.  I also enjoy a good cheesy bake as a nice dish.  What is it with everyone and their focus on red sauces?

I make carbonara for people sometimes when they come over and they are shocked that the pasta can taste good without the red sauce.

Do any of you have an non traditional way to eat pasta that you enjoy?

Leftovers. Again?

If your a parent I’m sure you’ve heard that before.  But you have to use them right?  I’ve found a million ways to use up leftovers and not have them labeled as leftovers.  Somedays though, we do have leftovers.  (We call them Mustgo.  Everything in the fridge must go.  HA!)

Tonight, for example, I took some beef-vegetable soup, thickened it and dumped it into a pie shell.  I covered the top with mashed potatoes to make a sort of cottage pie.  Turns out the pie shell didn’t get cooked, but it was still good.  I didn’t hear a chorus of cries about having soup again because I modified it’s appearance slightly.  Not to mention that it was a quick and easy way to use up both the leftover soup and the leftover mashed potatoes, and it was much easier than making cottage pie from scratch, which I’ve done and it takes a while.

Other times I’ll make up extra to remake into things.  Potatoes are of course good for this.  I always make a ton of mashed potatoes when I make them because then I’ll fy them as potatoe pancakes for breakfast.  Same thing when I cook a pot roast in the crock pot.  I load it up with carrots and potatoes.  Then since they are already cooked they can make a quick hash for breakfast, or I can mash the potatoes and pan fry them as a side dish, and they take no time to cook.

Another thing I cook to use up leftovers is a frittata.  All the little bits of leftover veggies can be dumped into the skillet, covered with eggs and cheese and they take on a new life.  Nothing like it!  Of course you can keep a bag in the freezer to add these bits of vegetables to so you can make vegetable soup with them.

For me though, a stir fry has to be the best way to use up different bits and pieces.  The kids love it.  I love it.  It takes great and it’s flexible enough to take practically any leftover I might have in the fridge and repurpose it.

Anyway, what creative ways do you have to use up leftovers?

It’s Official, I’ve Lost my Mojo

In the kitchen that is.  My food mojo.  I’m having a hard time right now.  I don’t know what it is.  This transition from fresh foods to preserved foods is messing with me.  Not to mention that it seems like I go into the kitchen and look around and draw a blank.  I can’t figure out what to cook.

This didn’t happen to me a month ago.  Or even in the spring when there wasn’t much to choose from.

I think part of the problem is that my freezer is so full of vegetables that I haven’t been able to stock it with as many meat products as usual, and that has forced me drop into a hoarding mode where I don’t want to use something because I only have 4 of them, or however many.  This seems to lead to some kind of mental block on what to cook instead. Not to mention that I have a lot more choices when I have some beef in there, and right now it’s all pork and chicken.

Part of the problem is that we do try to go meatless 2 or 3 times a week, but my vegetarian cooking hasn’t kept pace with this desire.  Most of the time it’s pizza, pasta or just a whole heap of veggies.  I have a vegetarian cookbook, but it’s too foo-foo (ie fancy) for me.  I’m a simpleton and I like simple dishes with fresh ingrediants.

Maybe part of the problem too is that we’ve been busier than normal of late so it’s hard for me to sit down and spend some time cooking.  Especially on the weekend when I do most of my best cooking.  When you work full time using the weekends to prep for quick meals to be prepared after work is essential.

Winter is a hard time for me anyway when it comes to cooking.  Half the people here don’t like beans so that takes away most of the potential soup dishes.  Winter squash isn’t a huge hit either, so that takes away two pretty large parts of eating through the winter.

I don’t know.  It’s hard to figure out.  What about you?  Are any of you having some difficulty in the kitchen putting fun interesting dishes on the table with what you’ve put up?