Tag Archives: Mexican

Don’t ya hate it?!!

Just when you think you have a good system in place it all crashes! I had planned a wonderful, elaborate, picture filled post of all of Michael’s pre-surgery dinner dishes and his birthday weekend. Well, my little camera decided it didn’t want to play anymore and refused to share the pictures with the computer, so here we are. We’ll just have to wing it!  Some of these photos are pre-camera crash and some archived.
We worked our way through the pre-surgery dinner list and savored every fat laden bite! Probably the healthiest dinner we ate wasn’t healthy at all, grilled Steak Burgers . Ok, grilled is usually healthy, but burgers? At least I ground the meat myself, so we know what was in there.
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Next up, Michael’s all time favorite, Sauted Chicken Livers. Yuck!!! As I’ve said before, cooking those chicken livers for him is a real gift. I don’t like anything about them, even the way the house smells when the livers are long gone is bad.
While Michael enjoyed his livers I played with a new sandwich recipe from a fellow WordPress.com blogger, Southern Abroad. She came up with a recipe for Grown Up Caprese Grilled Cheese that is absolutely decadent. I’m going to try to remember that one as a reward to myself the next time chicken livers are on Michael’s menu.
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Next on the list, Chicken Fingers with Buttermilk Gravy, another indulgent treat. I used to make these when the kids were small. They were always gobbled up faster than I could fry them. The chicken fingers lasted a little longer this time, (no kids), but not by much. If you try this recipe, make sure you have plenty of gravy for dipping and a pile of mashed potatoes along side.
Michael really does have a sweet tooth, and one of his favorite breakfast items is my Ricotta Pancakes slathered in either real maple syrup or Fresh Blueberry Sauce. These pancakes freeze well and reheat in the microwave in a flash, so I usually try to keep some on hand.
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Another frequent breakfast item around this house is a simple Spinach and Cheese Omelet. We especially like these when breakfast is running a little late, more towards brunch. They are a good way to use up that last bit of spinach that didn’t make it into a House Salad. I often add mushrooms to these little omelets if I have those on hand. I saute the mushrooms in butter first and set them aside to add with the spinach.
When you’re cooking for two, it’s always a good plan to avoid waste by using your ingredients in multiple recipes. Both the Fresh Ricotta Cheese for the pancakes and the spinach I used in the salads and omelets made another appearance in Calzones for Two. Somehow, I always over-stuff my calzones so they turn out looking more like a football than the pretty restaurant version. Who says “less is more”? Not me!
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And that brings us to the birthday weekend and my camera crash.
Aaron, Jen, and Xander arrived rather late on Friday night. That evening I put together a “Berry Good” French Toast Bake to pop in the oven on Saturday morning. I love make ahead breakfast casseroles when I know a big day of entertaining lies ahead.
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Rather than the French bread the breakfast casserole called for I used Whey Bread and the texture was a bit firmer, but just right. I have always been bothered by throwing away the whey that’s left from making ricotta. This bread is a very flavorful and versatile use of that.  (And the last picture from my camera.)
Michael’s birthday dinner was a Mexican Buffet. Surprised? Probably not! Here’s the menu:
Grilled Chicken Fajitas
Cheese Enchiladas, both red and green
Taco Seasoned Beef for tacos
Simple Refried Beans
Salsa Rice
and all the shells, sauces, and fixings, including Guacamole
We polished it all off with a Creamy Vanilla-Caramel Cheesecake.  Gosh, that was good!  Kaij and Kelton decorated it like a birthday cake, candles and all.
Now, what do you buy a 67 year old man who has everything for his birthday? Lottery tickets! I drove up across the Tennessee state line and bought $67.00 worth of scratch off lottery tickets. Don’t take me wrong, we only do this for the entertainment value. We don’t bet the house payment thinking we’ll get rich. It just doesn’t happen that way. The anticipation of those scratch offs sure is fun though! And it didn’t hurt that Michael won over $100.00 this time. Happy Birthday!
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Sunday, Michael and Aaron had a project to work on and Kaij and Kelton had their own things to do, so Xander, Jen, and I were left to our own devices. What better to do than cook? Xander helped me bake a batch of Peanut Butter Cookies. That really is a no-fail recipe. I packaged some up for Xander to take home, but he forgot and left them here. Oh well, more for Michael!
Michael has had his surgery and we’re in recovery mode now. Everything seems to be going well.
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.