Tag Archives: corned beef

And my new favorite is…

Chicken and Gnocchi Soup!!  I recently met a group of friends for lunch at a popular chain restaurant where I sampled this soup for the first time.  (Okay, maybe I don’t get out much.) While the concept of the soup was intriguing, the presence of chicken and gnocchi was almost non-existent.  It was basically cream of chicken soup with a little bit of shredded carrot and a leaf or two of baby  spinach for decoration.  Needless to say, I was disappointed by that soup and felt challenged as a home cook to do better.  Although I may be blowing my own horn, I do think my version more than met that challenge.  I did cut back on the amount of cream in my recipe to let the chicken flavor come through as well as to reduce the amount of saturated fat, but one could certainly add as much cream as they liked. (Do you think the restaurant uses real cream anyway?)  At any rate, you won’t have to look hard to find the chicken or gnocchi here, and I think plenty of creaminess remains. As a bonus, a generous two cup serving is only 370 calories by my computer’s calculation.  I did leave out a bit of the broth in the bowl for this photo.

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In all my excitement over that silly soup I’ve jumped ahead of myself here. Let me back up to the beginning of the week with Sunday’s supper of Stuffed Cabbage Rolls. I hadn’t made those in quite some time and had forgotten how satisfying they are. Cabbage rolls do take a little bit of work since you have to craft each portion individually, but the softened cabbage leaves are very forgiving and the assembly really takes very little time. The flavor of the cabbage seems to sweeten as it bakes, encasing little individual meatloaves. Of course, a second pan of cabbage rolls went into the freezer for another night.

As one meal went into the freezer another came out. (Gosh, I wish I could keep the dishes rotating like that. My freezers wouldn’t be so darned full!)  Meatless Monday’s made ahead meal was Ricotta Stuffed Zucchini. I did have to add some extra Marinara, also from the freezer, as the pasta seemed to have soaked up all available moisture in the freezing process.

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When you make Stuffed Cabbage Rolls, only the large outer leaves of the cabbage are required, and the larger the leaves the better. This leaves quite a bit of extra cabbage. Now you have two choices: you can serve extra cabbage on the side or save it for another day. This time I chose the later and on Tuesday we had Corned Beef and Cabbage. We don’t usually have corned beef until St. Patrick’s Day, but why not? I sometimes find myself trapped by tradition. How dumb is that? And besides, I love corned beef sandwiches.

I think I have mentioned before that our dogs may be just a little bit spoiled, haven’t I? Well, Bella has been battling food allergies, but one of the things she can eat is pork. Boneless pork loins go on sale often and are easy to cut into strips to dehydrate into dog treats (keep refrigerated). We have been eating a lot of pork lately! Thursday’s dinner was Pork Carnitas, courtesy of Bella. Carnitas have just a hint of citrus flavor and a melt in you mouth texture. the recipe is a two stage process, so after I have completed the first stage I split the pork into batches and freeze some for later. There I go filling that freezer again!

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Friday was an exercise in flexibility. My intention was to fix Bay Scallop Po’Boys, but a trip to the seafood counter came up empty handed. Frozen scallops weren’t an option either, as I wasn’t willing to invest $27.00 in the bag that was available! Nothing else in the seafood counter looked particularly appealing, so I decided to just forgo “Fishy Friday” for the week. So now what? Back to that pork loin. I had ground the end pieces and meaty chunks that didn’t lend themselves to being cut into lean strips. Waste not want not! I’ve been mulling a new recipe over in my head and decided to try it out. Pork Stuffed Acorn Squash attempt number one was the result. Let me just call it a work in progress. The recipe shows promise, but this first effort came out dry and the spice blend was definitely off. Next pork loin I’ll try again, but until I get it right I won’t post a recipe.

If you follow this blog, or at least read it on a regular basis, you may realize that I’m a week behind, AGAIN. This current week the menu has been rather boring and uneventful, so I may just forgo it all together and try to get a jump on the next week. I do need to be more prompt. The only excuse I can offer is that we old retired folks get kind of busy sometimes. (WINK)
Be thankful for what life gives you.

I love my cullinary life!

Ok, it’s not perfect, nobody’s is, but all in all my life is great. Here’s why…
I’ve always thought that my idea of being truly rich would be having the ability to go to the grocery store and buy whatever I’d like (within reason). I can do that! I don’t have to ration my purchases. If I dream up a recipe, (even in my sleep, which I very often do), I can allow myself the luxury of buying whatever ingredients are needed to create that recipe. That doesn’t mean I’m not frugal. I hate waste. I even save the vegetable trimmings to add to my homemade broths, but if I see an item on sale that inspires an idea you can bet it’s going to fall into my cart! This week’s item of inspiration was lobster tails, but more on that later.
I try not to cook much on Saturdays, but this past week I had an idea I wanted to try with the leftover corned beef from St. Patricks Day. My Corned Beef Cabbage Rolls were the result. Both Michael and I enjoy the occasional Slow Cooker Corned Beef Dinner, but the leftovers can be boring. These cabbage rolls were a nice change. The only thing that’s difficult is the pre-planning. I had to pull the first large leaves off the head of cabbage and save them for this dish before the rest went into the slow cooker. Ah well, that’s what a menu plan is for.
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Sunday’s dinner was a delight! I rarely see New York Strips of beef in roast form, usually just cut into steaks, but these roasts were one of the featured items at the grocery this week and I took full advantage of that. My recipe for Slow-Roasted Beef Eye of Round worked well for this roast. I had the butcher custom cut a roast that weighed just over two pounds and that was perfect for two meals. Some of the weight is lost in cooking and some is trimmed off. I used those trimmings to make Au Jus, which I served along side the roast as well as a dipping sauce for my Redneck Cheesesteak Subs on Wednesday night.  Gosh were those subs messy, but worth every drippy bite!
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I’ve jumped ahead of myself a bit here… Along with the roast on Sunday I tried a new recipe for Parmesan Baked Potatoes. I wasn’t thrilled. I didn’t think that just halving the potatoes exposed enough of the flesh to the Parmesan cheese and butter. The cheese formed a tough crust, too. I think I’ll try to modify that recipe by cubing the potatoes and tossing them in the Parm/butter mixture a few times as they roast.
I’ve been surfing around on WordPress.com lately, looking at other food blogs. One blog that I’ve taken an interest in comes from a girl in Scotland, weebluemixer. She had been looking at my recipes here and reminded me of the one for Chiles Rellenos Casserole, which I haven’t baked in a while. Thanks to her prompting my memory, that was made for this Meatless Monday’s dinner. Half of the recipe was just a little too much for the two of us, but it sure was good. I sometimes forget certain recipes and need to look back through my collections more often.
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Another recipe that had fallen by the menu planning wayside was Tuesday night’s fare, good old Spaghetti and Meatballs in Homemade Marinara Sauce. I nearly always keep a stash of meatballs in the freezer. They are so versatile. I freeze them on trays and then divide and package them into meal sized batches. Homemade Marinara comes from the freezer, too. I went into a panic when I realized I was using my last batch of that this week. It’s going to be a long time before the garden is producing this summer’s tomato crop. I guess I’ll have to resort to using canned tomatoes, and it’s been a long time since I’ve had to do that!  Good Friday is supposed to be planting day.  Four tomato plants went in; two San Marzano’s for cooking and two Big Beef for slicing.  I sure hope I get a better yield than last year.
Thursday night’s dinner was another drippy delicious mess. The chicken on our Chicken and Bacon Hoagies kept trying to slide off the buns. I guess with the tomatoes on the bottom and sauteed spinach on top that poor chicken cutlet just couldn’t keep any traction. Maybe I should try stacking the ingredients in a different order.
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I have a new to me (healthy, but don’t tell) recipe catagory to explore. It’s Chia Seed Puddings. My first attempt was Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding and it turned out well, kind of like tapioca. I became interrested in chia pudding because of weebluemixer’s posts and am playing with recipes for that now. More later.
OK, Fishy Friday didn’t happen, either. I don’t know if Michael is afraid of my second attempt at Lobster Mac and Cheese or if he just needed a Mexican food fix, but that’s what we did. Rosie’s Mexican Cantina. Twist my arm.
Sunday will be Easter, and that calls for a big dinner!  Ham based in our house. Here’s the menu plan, but check back to see what really happens.

Basic Deviled Eggs (Emily)
Strawberry Pretzel Salad
Baked Ham
UnPotato Salad
Roasted Asparagus
Freezer Corn
Strawberry Cupcakes

Seems to be a little heavy on the strawberry side.  Oh well!
Got ham?  Next week I’ll explore how to make the most of it…all the way down to the last little bits.
Be thankful for what life gives you.