Sunday, September 19, 2010

Festive Fall Supper

Tonight's Dinner was (ta-da!) Pork Roast with Apples and Sage. 

There's really not much to say other than "wow!"  This may be our Holiday dinner this year, in fact.  Bacon, sage, apples, pork.....all of that together equals awesome!  A very nice fall supper, indeed.  The only thing missing is apple pie for dessert.

Next week we're going apple picking.  I'm already pulling recipes together and trying to be a girl with a plan!  Stay tuned for our Second Annual Applefest. :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Hamburger "Invention"

In a quest to hurry up and "get things done" tonight, we scratched the meatloaf idea on the menu and opted for the ho-hum choice of spaghetti with meat sauce.  Hamburger may be versatile, but all we seem to be able to do with it is burgers, meat sauce and tacos.  Or some variation of these three things.

Then it was discovered that (gasp!) we were out of spaghetti sauce!  How did we let this happen!!  Since we had the ingredients for meatloaf, we mixed up a batch of meat-mix.  A pound of ground beef, 1 egg, some oregano and parsley, onion powder and a cup of bread crumbs.  Brian formed patties, and cooked them on the stovetop.  Then he took my suggestion of a "sauce" of some kind, and made this gravy...thickened with a little Wondra.  The end result was the perfect chilly-weather comfort food, when served with mashed potato and canned green beans.  Not very chilly today, but there was one heck of a rainstorm, so it fit nicely.  The meat was soft and required no knife to cut into, and the spice blend was perfect.  And Brian is the King of Sauces, he can whip up a sauce to go with anything.    The best part?  There's leftovers for tomorrow's lunch!

Just goes to show you, necessity IS the mother of invention.   And that being short of ingredients can indeed lead you someplace wonderful.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Just Plain Wrong

 Brian had an interesting story to share from work today.  Apparently there is a "Weight Watchers at Work" group at his place of employment.  Since his desk is thisclose to the lobby, he often hears them getting out of their meeting, and is treated to these people sharing stories about points, recipes and weight loss.  Today, some of the participants brought their versions of slimmed-down treats.  Well, Brian didn't know that these were "slimmed down," so when one woman offered him a brownie, he took it.  It wasn't exactly a good brownie...and the woman asked him what he thought.  Not wanting to be impolite, he said "'s....a little dry."  And then she tells him the reason why:  one of the main ingredients?  Is BLACK BEAN PUREE.  I'm serious.  And another person had chocolate chip cookies.  With CHICK PEAS IN THEM.  Seriously, if you are looking for a brownie you can eat without feeling guilty?  Stop at one brownie.  Both of us agree that we'd rather have no brownies or chocolate chip cookies at all than ones made with black beans and chick peas.  Man, I barely like hummus. 

I asked Brian if she had made this recipe up herself.  He said he wasn't sure, so out of my morbid curiosity, I googled it.  (God Bless Google!)  Oh no......there are actually a lot of recipes out there for black bean brownies and chocolate chip-chickpea cookies.   C'mon...really??  One website actually went as far as to call their brownies "amazing!"   To quote Susan Powter...."Stop the Insanity!!"

(p.s.  I have nothing against Weight Watchers, or handy tricks to lose weight.  Or good recipes that are lower in fat and calories.)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Summer's Last Hurrah

Labor Day has come and gone, which means summer has unofficially ended.  The temps have even started to drop at night, making for excellent sleeping weather.  :)  I've always said that September and October are the best months of the year.  :)

We spent the first part of the holiday weekend visiting family, and Monday was just the four of us hanging out at home.  We planned on a simple menu for dinner:  barbecued chicken, pasta salad and fresh corn on the cob.

Brian bought a whole chicken and cut it up to individual pieces.  And I have to admit, it really is fresher that way.  And it creates plenty of leftovers.

Now, imagine the chagrin when I realize that (GAH) we're out of barbecue sauce!  You always notice these kinds of things when the cook is elbow-deep in raw chicken and there's no quick options.   So I flew by the seat of my pants.  What sounds good....I know!  Citrus and Basil Marinade.  I threw it together in my blender, all ingredients in the kitchen and on-hand.  The end result was tangy deliciousness....very taste-of-summer.  Crisis averted!

Crafty Mama's Citrus-Basil Marinade

I call this a marinade, but really, the chicken pieces only soaked in it for about fifteen minutes.  Believe me, it was plenty of time. 

In a blender, toss in:

1 cup orange juice
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/3 cup orange marmalade
6 fresh basil leaves
2 tbsp lemon juice
a little ground black pepper

Set blender to "chop" for about 20 seconds, then "mix" for 20 more.  Place chicken pieces in a big plastic bag, then pour in the marinade.  Seal bag, squeezing out excess air.   Refrigerate for desired resting time/optimal flavor.