Sunday, 28 February 2010

sunday. i usually have sundays off. my husband has plans to cook his own dinner tonight. he found a recipe for beef fajitas that he wants to try out. some men look at porn after their wives have crawled in to bed, mine reads old cookbooks. yesterday he found a book i picked up a few weeks ago at a charity shop for 25p- 'new mexico cook book, 175 recipes from the land of enchantment' it was published in 1990. i know he has a thing for tex/mex southwest US regional cooking.

juice of two limes
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup cilantro
1 medium sized jalapeno seeded and minced
2 cloves garlic finely minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2lbs skirt steak or flank steak
2 med sized avocados, peeled and sliced
1 medium sized onion thinly sliced

mix the lime juice, oil, cilantro, jalapeno, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper in a bowl. marinate the steak in this mixture, cover and stick in the fridge for at least 8hrs. remove steak and cook with sliced onions. serve with sliced avocado and warm tortillias, and salsa. supposed to serve 6

well in this house we don't have to serve 6. only my husband will be eating the fajitas. so we'll play around with this recipe and let you know how it goes. amounts will be adjusted, things added and things subtracted.

Saturday, 27 February 2010

now the husband doesn't eat mac and cheese, so i needed to do something for his dinner. at the store today i was able to score some cheap meat. god i love cheap meat. i found some ground beef, 500g for £1.25. i think that works out to about a pound of ground beef for $2.35. i took about an inch off the end of the block and cooked that up plain so i could mix it into some veg dishes for my son. i divided the rest of the block in half. one half i set aside for dinner, the other half i divided in half again and froze those two lumps for future use.
dinner would be a quick meatloaf.

slacker loaf
1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 small onion finely diced
1/4 bell pepper, any color finely diced
onion powder, garlic powder, s/p, bbq seasoning

so i mixed up the meat with my chopped veggies. i sprinkled in various seasoning i happen to have in my collection, a bit of onion powder, garlic powder, some mexican flavored salt- it smells smokey, black pepper, and powdered bbq seasoning. once everything was mixed up i put it in a small baking tin and banged it in the oven at 350 for like 30min. basically it's like an oven baked burger. husband ate half with another serving for eating later.
i used half of the ground beef i cooked for my son in some veggie lasagna, i chopped up the lasagna really fine and stirred in the meat. the kid ate it up.
i've had a very long and somewhat frustrating day dealing with my toddler. gah. turns out the two heads of broccoli i bought for super cheap from the crazy vegstand lady really need using up. 50p for two super nice bunches, total bargain. in the grocery store that would have set me back at least £2. so i cleaned the broc up and got rid of the nasty bits. one head i decided to add to a batch of baked mac and cheese. the other head i set aside for husband's dinner.
so homemade mac and cheese, i don't really have a written recipe for this. i just add stuff to the pan and hope for the best.

2 tablespoons butter or marg
2 tablespoons flour
whole wheat pasta of some kind- penne, fusilli
steamed broc
grated cheddar cheese
bread crumbs
oven proof dish/bowl

ok, now here's what i do. i get a pot to cook the pasta in. i put water in the pot and set it on a burner to heat up. over the pot i put a colander(strainer) holding my  broc. i put a lid over the broc so it's covered. while the water is heating up and later cooking my pasta, the broc is getting steamed. you kill two birds with one stone. i just give the broc a light steam, you don't want to cook it too much since it's going in the oven later. when it's done i set it aside. i let the pasta cook until almost done, again doesn't have to be totally cooked because- oven. i strain the pasta and set that next to the broc. now in the pot i cooked the pasta in, i put that back on the stove. i add the marg in and let it melt. when it's melted i add the flour. mix it up and you have a thick paste. i stir it around the pot a bit and let it cook for a few minutes. i add in about 1/4cup of milk and stir things around with a whisk. the marg/flour paste blends into the milk and you get really thick milk. then i slowly add more milk and whisk some more. i add milk about a 1/4 cup at a time and let it cook a bit until i get a nice white sauce that's not too think and not too thin. when the mix looks to be the right consistency i turn off the heat and add the grated cheese. how much cheese? i don't know i've never really measured. try 1 1/2cups and see how you like it. the cheese melts really quickly. give it a good whisk and add the broc and pasta. dump everything in your oven proof dish, top with some breadcrumbs and bang it into an oven for like 30 to 45min at 350.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

main ingredients for all the veggies in the house soup
1/4 head of white cabbage thinly chopped
1/2 bell pepper
small sweet potato
1 onion finely diced
1 carrot chopped
1 small zuchini
2 celery stalks diced up
1 medium to large potato
couple slices of swede cubed
1 can of roman beans
1 can of chopped tomatoes
some chopped garlic
assorted seasoning- onion powder, garlic powder (1 teaspoon of each),chili powder (1/4 teaspoon), oregano, basil ( 1 tablespoon of each), veg buillon (2 tablespoons.) or 1 stock cube.
good squirt of tomato puree

i toss all the veg into a 4qrt pot, i think it's a 4 qrt pot. it's the biggest one i have. i saute everything in a little olive oil.

when things start softening up i add the seasoning. i let it cook a few minutes more. add the chopped tomato and beans. add enough water to cover the veg, usually a can and a half.

bring everything to a boil. cover and turn down to low. cook 1hr. uncover and let simmer about 1/2hr. veg should be tender when done. makes about 5 servings. great with shredded cheddar cheese on top and garlic bread.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

today was a busy cooking day. i made a vegetable lasagna, mango sauce and a banana bread.
mango sauce is super easy. they've been on sale at aldi recently for like 39p or something stupid. buy them in a regular grocery store and they will set you back like £1.75. my son and husband love mango sauce mixed into plain yogurt. it's also way better for you and much cheaper than buying massed produced mango flavored yogurt.
so mango sauce- i just use a regular veg peeler to get the skin off. i carefully slice the flesh off the pit. i chop up the flesh and just toss the chunks in a pot to simmer with a little water. when the mango is cooked a bit i puree it with a stick blender.

vegetable lasagna
i chop up half an eggplant, a small onion, half a bell pepper, some white mushrooms and a small zucchini. all that gets tossed in a pot and sauted  with some dried basil, oregano, garlic powder and onion powder. cook until the veg is soft. i let the veg mix cool for a bit.
i use jar sauce. i usually make lasagna once a week and i really don't have the time and energy to make a pot of homemade sauce for that. so jar of sauce and some ricotta cheese, pasta sheets- uncooked, fresh mozzarella- sliced thinly.
dump the ricotta into a bowl and mix with about a 1/2cup of sauce. should be a nice pink color and easy to spread.
get your oven proof casserole dish, put a layer of sauce in the bottom. this helps keep the lasagna from sticking, making it easier to get out of the pan. so layer of sauce and then first layer of pasta sheets- straight out of the box. even if it doesn't say- no need to precook, i still don't bother cooking them. my casserole dish takes two sheets side by side. on top of the sheets i spread down a layer of the ricotta and sauce mix. on top of that i dump some of the cooked veggies. i spread the veggies out. on top of the veggies i put a couple tablespoons of sauce. after the sauce i put a few slices of mozzarella spaced around the sheets. then you just repeat the process. i make sure to alternate the direction of the layers. one layer -, next layer | so the layers are +. i usually get about 4 layers before i run out of veggies. on the last layer i do pasta, ricotta, dump the rest of the jar of sauce out, spread around. i put on whatever mozzarella is left and sprinkle some parmigiana cheese. now if you have time, it's really great to let the whole thing sit in the fridge for an hour or so. since i'm a slacker i usually don't have time for the thing to sit, so i just cover the dish with foil and bang it in the oven at 350 for an hour. there is enough moisture in the sauce, ricotta and steam from cooking covered that the pasta gets cooked nicely and is not soggy or over done.if you have time to let the lasagna sit for awhile before cooking there is not much need to cook it covered since the moisture leaks out when it rests. also if you cook it covered you might want to save the mozzarella and parm to about 15min before the end of cooking time before putting it on, the cheese has a tendency to stick to the foil.
banana bread
family recipe, super easy. instead of greasing and flouring the loaf tin i use those paper inserts, they rule.

1 1/2cups flour
1 teaspoon each of baking soda/salt
2 large eggs
2 ripe bananas- mashed
3/4cup brown sugar packed
1/3cup each veg oil/milk
1/2cup chopped nuts

1] heat oven to 350
stir together floor, baking soda and salt in small bowl, set aside
2] stir together eggs, banana, brown sugar, oil, and milk in medium bowl until well blended.
add dry ingredients and nuts to banana mixture. stir to combine
3] pour into greased and floured loaf pan. bake until wooden pick comes out clean- about 1hr
use wooden spoon to mix things