Friday, July 8, 2011

Plain, wholesome, well cooked food

“The keynote to happiness within the four walls that make any home is plain, wholesome, well cooked food, attractively served.”
Louis P. De Gouy, ‘The Soup Book’ (1949)

I have been waiting to post here until I could finish up the mini series on our sweet visit with Bruce and Kim and to share Kim's recipes. If you wonder why that hasn't happened, it is because I lost the spiral notebook I jotted notes in while she was working.

Until I find that, I will share some things going on in my summer kitchen. One thing is finding ways to keep the heat level down. We have no central heat and air and the two window units for the whole house aren't holding out very well. We are making full use of our two ceiling fans and the stove vent hood and I am figuring out that timing can be everything!
Dinner made in the morning (or mostly made) makes for a much more comfortable meal time and alleviates some of the stress.

Here are some of the meals, snacks and so ons we've had lately:

* Roast in the crock pot. I have not been very skilled at producing tender or tasty roasts over the years. I'm learning from others. One thing I learned from my friend turned family, Debby. Even her venison roast turns out unbelievably tender. She puts her roast in with no water or very little water and lets it cook overnight. I have always added way too much water!
My MIL suggested I throw a garlic clove in and told me to drizzle some Worcestershire sauce and Dales low sodium seasoning over the roast. She also said she prefers adding her potatoes, carrots, onion and celery about an hour or two before the roast is done. The entire crockpot of roast and vegetables was GONE before I got home and got one bite! I will try options other than Dales seasoning because even the low sodium is HIGH in sodium.

* Healthy Spaghetti sauce using my WOK! I heated up the WOK and quick cooked bite sized pieces of chicken breasts with sliced, dried yellow squash and put that in a dutch oven. Next, I did separate batches, each going from WOK to dutch oven and included a large, chopped Vidalia onion, three portabello mushrooms cut into bite sized pieces, three diced green peppers and yellow squash. I added two jars of the healthiest commercial sauce I could afford and topped it with garlic infused spaghetti. The latter is just spaghetti cooked with a few cloves of garlic in the water.

* Turkey burgers and yellow squash and onions on the side.

* Homemade pizza after homemade pizza after homemade pizza. I have made pizza in so many ways and with so many different crusts that our 8-year old asks what we are having with this tagline: "PLEASE tell me you are not fixing another veggie pizza?!" Ha, Ha. I have a new favorite thin crust recipe that I have made so many times, I've quit counting. I have it scribbled on a getting-worn-out piece of paper bec/ I got it from the internet and have no ink to print with!
I have used bbq sauce mixed with pizza sauce, regular pizza sauce with basil sprinkled over, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, thick salad dressing and anything I thought of for sauces. Also, toppings have been so varied - organic, baby spinach leaves, chopped red onions, thinly sliced zucchini and yellow squash, steamed broccoli heads, carrot ribbons (sliced) and on the list goes.

That is all for now. I've realized that it would take a lot of time to share everything I've been making so I will just stop trying to catch up and try to do better from here on out.

My husband is now working a full time job AND running his business and our 21 year old son is staying with us until he marries in March. He is working a full time job and doing several side jobs after work so I make sure they have coffee in the morning and thermoses as well as healthy and filling lunches. This has been far more difficult to keep food for than I remembered so I have started doubling and tripling dinner recipes so the divider plates I use can be filled, sealed and placed in the refrigerator for easy grabbing. I am writing down all sorts of past lunches and new ideas to try. Do you have any lunch ideas to share?

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