Leftovers, anyone?

The week after the Forth of July was uneventful. We ate leftovers until they were coming out of our ears, and then we grilled those forgotten hot dogs.
I guess there were a couple of moments that did stand out, though.
Before Aaron, Jen, and Xander left on Sunday morning we had our usual big breakfast. Aaron and Jen shared a jar of their plum jam, made with plums they grew themselves. It sure was good.
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Sometimes necessity is the mother of invention. Thursday night we were getting ready to grill Spinach and Mushroom Smothered Chicken when the skies opened up and the rain came pouring down. It was getting late and all the ingredients were already prepped. Spinach and Mushroom Braised Chicken was born. I don’t know which version I like better. The grilled version has that wonderful smoky charcoal flavor, and the braised version is a little moister with the braising liquid. It’s a hard choice.
Sunday’s dinner was phenominal! I can’t take credit for it though. We saw a segment on The Today Show that featured Thomas Keller’s Simple Roast Chicken from Epicurious Magazine. That roast chicken tasted like CHICKEN and was unbelievably juicy. The recipe calls for a “farm-raised” chicken, but the best I could do was an organic fryer (on sale) from my local grocer. I did finish it with my own pan sauce that I often prepare when I roast various meats. We also had to try some of the creamed corn that I put up for the freezer. This year we had a lot of rain, so the corn crop has been excellent, and that makes all the difference.  You can’t cream dry corn.
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I also tried a “new to me” recipe for Angel Biscuits. This particular recipe can be made in advance and baked as needed. The recipe was copied for me by Michael’s mother from an old VanHook family recipe book. Of course, I then had to borrow the book to read through myself. I copied several more recipes which may show up here after I’ve had a chance to try them.
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Our own garden is beginning to come in, as evidenced by this basket of pink eyed peas, sometimes called “purple hulls” or “cow peas”. What ever you choose to call them, they are delicious. It takes a while to shell them, but then all you have to do is put them in bags and freeze, no blanching required.
Our tomatoes are also beginning to come in as well. Meatless Monday’s dinner was Italian Tomato Pie. Tomato pie is one of those dishes that is only good with summer tomatoes. Store bought just won’t do.
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Along with the tomatoes and pink eyes, we are in the middle of our blueberry harvest. I don’t think the blueberry yield will be as good this year as last years’ 84 cups, but hopefully we’ll get enough to make it through till next year.
Wednesday night I jumped the gun on myself. We were supposed to have Salisbury Steaks from the freezer, but instead I made Chile Rellenos. I had planned Thursday’s dinner to be Emily’s Chili Rellenos, but I started thinking about all the calories in fried foods. I decided to try baking the chilis instead of frying them and it worked out well. Emily’s Chili Rellenos II is still her basic recipe with the addition of Emily’s Easy Enchilada Sauce. I served Simple Refried Beans and Salsa Rice on the side. (in this photo the cheese on top looks a bit like yellow mustard, but I promise it’s cheddar cheese.)
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Thursday The Sticky Menu Plan was called into action. We were out and about when Michael twisted my arm and we wound up at a Mexican restraunt. You know he had a hard time convincing me, right? Anyway, Thursday’s planned Salisbury Steak with Onion and Mushroom Gravy got slid to Friday. Fishy Friday’s sticker was just Tuna Salad Salads, and I make that with canned tuna out of the pantry. I’ll just slide that stickie to next week. Whether or not I actually use it isn’t decided yet. Some other fish dish may sound better by the time I plan next weeks Sticky Menu. I can do as I like!
Be thankful for what life gives you.

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