Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Dinners with Family

Things have been so full and fabulous around here at dinner time that I haven’t been near the computer enough to write about it!

The entire time I was making dinner plans, tidying up the house to have it and throughout the entire preparation --- I was content within. Joy swirled around like the cream in our coffee drinks and I was silently (and maybe with some humming) praising God for the miracle and blessing of it all. My family. Here with me laughing, talking, joking, eating, smiling, living, loving, relating, revealing, and being together in this humble little home.
Even thinking on it now, I offer up a thankful praise.

Spaghetti made with a healthy venison meat sauce was topped with diced, sautéed zucchini and served with garlic toast. I was supposed to serve fresh mango and pineapple for dessert but I forgot. I did make many pots of coffee (smile) and a lot of those were our now very popular iced coffees.

My DIL, Brandy craved McDonald’s new iced coffees throughout her last pregnancy so I tried making them here. Pretty popular results, I must say.

Spaghetti Sauce

Ground venison (free range, hormone free and more --- ha ha)
Olive Oil
Salt, Pepper & Seasonings
Green Pepper
Spaghetti Sauce
Canned Diced Tomatoes
Tomato Paste

Brown ground beef/venison with some organic olive oil and chopped Vidalia onions and green peppers. Add everything else and let simmer on low while the rest of the dinner is made or as long as you like.

Garlic Toaster Oven Toast

My DIL, Laura made this by mixing garlic powder with softened butter and spreading that on one side of the bread. Toast at a high heat until desired crispiness. We made four “batches” at varying times to accommodate all the tastes at the table.

The next day, we had barbeque chicken legs and “gourmet” macaroni and cheese.
For the BBQ chicken? Get your apron on and get ready for a lot of work. Kidding, wink.
Drizzle any barbecue sauce over the chicken legs (do spray the pan to keep everything from sticking) and bake at 375 degrees for 45-60 minutes. I baked mine around an hour to give it a crispy coating.

“Gourmet” Macaroni & Cheese
Elbow macaroni, cooked (I used a bowl of left over out of my fridge)
Garlic, finely chopped
Portabella mushrooms, chopped
Green Peppers, chopped
Heavy Cream
Sour cream
Sharp Cheddar cheese (sliced and then cut in squares or strips … or you can grate it)

Sautee onions, garlic, mushrooms and green peppers in butter and a drizzle of olive oil until flavorful. Add heavy cream and stir before adding macaroni. Turn off heat for a few minutes. Add spoons of sour cream, seasonings, and make sure all are thoroughly mixed. Add cheese and turn heat to low until all the cheese is mixed in well. It doesn’t have to be completely melted if everything is hot --- it will melt here and there all through and make for some delicious forks full!

One meal was the two above meals in one! I had the grandlittles and wanted to spend time with them (plus, this Nandy was doing well to keep up without trying to cook as it was!) so I pulled the glass bowl of spaghetti sauce and pasta out of the fridge and simmered the sauce on the stove. I heated the pasta and put the left over chicken legs and macaroni and cheese straight from the fridge shelf into the oven. I did give it a few minutes to adjust to the change in temps to keep from shattering the glass!
For dessert, we had Oreo Cake and Boston Cream Pie with coffee. I didn’t make either dessert! Our church sent both home for us since they had extras after a recent event there.

Nandy’s Iced Coffee

Brewed Coffee, Strong or Expresso (I used strong coffee using our vacuum coffee maker … another post on that is coming up!)
Sugar or other Sweetener

Prepare 8 cups of coffee (the most our little glass pot makes at once so you could make 10-12 if you have more to make) on the stove top and have everything ready on the counter for when it is done.
Pour hot coffee in Pyrex 2-cup measure or any container available safe for hot liquids.
Add sugar/sweetener to desired tastes (my family likes way too much so I use 4-8 teaspoons or tablespoons of sucanat, sugar, honey, or agave sweetener) and fill about half way full. Add enough milk to make coffee look creamy and stir or whisk well.
Pour in tumblers pre-filled with ice and top with a swirl or two of half-n-half before adding a straw. When we have whipped cream, it gets scooped high on the top and sometimes a sprinkle of freshly grated nutmeg is added.

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