Thursday, March 26, 2009

Southwest Mac and Cheese

Sometimes when you're just learning to cook it is easy to take prepackaged meals and add things to them.
This is my "Adult" mac and Cheese dinner.

1 package of macaroni and cheese. Kraft is the best.
1 lb of ground beef
1 can of diced tomatoes
1/2 diced onion
1 clove a garlic
1 small package of frozen veggies-something with a southwest theme
taco seasoning
vegetable oil

Get everything out of the pantry and refrigerator before you start. Carefully dice the onion and garlic. Set them aside. Put about 1 quart of water in a large pot and start it to boil.
In a large skillet and the oil, and heat it slowly. Add the onion and garlic. keep stirring them occasionally. don't let them stick to the bottom or burn.
When the water is boiling add about 1 T. of salt and the macaroni. set the cheese pack aside. stir the pot so the macaroni don't stick together. turn down the heat to low and cover the pan.
add the ground beef to the onions. break it up while browning. add some salt, pepper and taco seasoning. I always add to taste. add the veggies. and continue to stir and break up the meat.
when it is brown add the tomatoes. turn down to low simmer and cover.
drain the water from the macaroni. set the macaroni aside. in the sauce pan, on low heat melt the butter that the mac and cheese package requires. slowly add the milk. When the it is melted and well Incorporated add the cheese pack. stir it around break up any lumps.
add the macaroni to the pot and fold slowly.Let the macaroni heat back up. Add the meat and veggie mixture to the pot and fold in slowly.
That's it. Make sure you have enough seasoning. and serve.
Refrigerate any leftovers after it has cooled.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Beef Stroganoff

Beef stroganoff

Everybody loves a good beef stroganoff. My favorite is a blend of recipes The first I found in an old cookbook called “My Favorite Recipes”, and the second part is my Mom’s.

This is a true definition of comfort food. It is warm and creamy, and can be served over rice, noodles, or even mashed potatoes. I believe the cook book called for egg noodles. My Granny (father’s side) made a stroganoff to serve over both noodles and mashed potatoes.

Ok, I think I got my bubble gum casserole ideas came from a combination of lots of sources--.One of them being Granny.

1 lbs of round steak
Flour, salt, and pepper for dredging
1 lb of sliced mushrooms
1 medium onion
1 clove garlic (2 if small)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 cups of beef stock
1 cup sour cream
1 tbls of Worcestershire
1 tbls of Balsamic vinegar
1 pinch herbs de Provence
2 tsp of Lowry’s seasoning salt.

Slice the mushrooms, onion and garlic. Set them aside. Cut the meat into bite sized pieces. Dredge them in the salt, pepper, flour mixture. Heat a large skillet with a little oil. When the pan gets hot, add the meat. Cook on medium heat stirring occasionally for 5 to 10 minutes. Don’t let the flour burn in the skillet.

Take the meat out and set aside. Add the mushrooms onion and garlic. Cook on medium low until some of the moisture has cooked out. Add back the meat. Add the stock and the soup. Cook on low for another 10 minutes. If you are serving this with noodles, now is the time to boil them.

Add the rest of the seasonings, and the sour cream. Turn off the heat stir to combine all the ingredients, cover and let sit until the noodles are ready.


Mistress of the Kitchen

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Cabbage Salad

Do you remember the ½ a head of cabbage from the corned beef? Well this is something you can do with the rest of it.
Make a fun slaw.

But this one is special. It’s almost like ambrosia.

½ head of green cabbage
1 apple
1 cup shredded pineapple
1 cup of seedless green grapes
1 cup of chopped pecans
1 Tbs. of lemon juice
½ a cup of mayonnaise
½ Tbls. Of sugar.

Tear the cabbage into small pieces. Place in a medium bowl. Chop and seed the apple, add to the cabbage. Add the grapes and nuts. In a small bowl mix the lemon juice, mayo sugar and salt to taste.
Pour over the cabbage and mix. Chill in the refrigerator for about ½ hour before serving.

This is a good side dish with any picnic food. It is even nice enough to take to a pot luck- which is where I first discovered this treat.

Mistress Kimberly

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

One pot wonders

Caracoles are great. Ever wonder what to do with left over’s? Why not put it all in one big pot. Of course if you do this you have to watch out not over season. Sometimes mixing ethnic spices is a bad idea.

Herbs de Province and oregano don't really go with the plum sauce or the teriyakis of Japanese cooking.

Other times things are good together, like balsamic, Worcestershire and teriyaki can make a wonderfully bold statement in a hearty stew. You just have to experiment.
One experiment I am interest in trying is called a tomato soup chocolate cake. My assumption is that the condensed soup helps the cake stay moist.

Any way we humans have been doing one pot meals since the days of fire pits and the big cauldron hanging in the middle of it.

The French cassoulet is an example. The pot and the family recipe would be handed down from generation to generation. Generally the cassoulet is lamb, pork, partridge. The meat would also depend on the season, and region of France your family was.

Bean casseroles have been around for ever, over course in the old slow cook method, pot in the fire place it took days to make a good pot of beans. How we figured out how to eat a bean. Legumes when picked are as hard as little pebbles, but after washing and soaking for hours then cooking slowly for days, they can almost become pasty as the starch cooks up.

I love to cook in big pots. This way gives you a meal tonight, and tomorrow, and sometimes... it is even better later, because the spices have a chance to marry.

Today's one pot wonder:


1 pound ground beef, cooked and drained
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 cup mixed bell peppers, green, red and yellow
1 can of diced tomatoes with green challis added
1 package of frozen corn mixture with onion and peppers added
1 can of refried beans with lime
1 can kidney or pinto beans drained.
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
Seasoning salt
Ground cumin
Ground chili powder. (I like the Spanish style)
Dash of taco seasoning.
Squeeze of ketchup

Sauté the onion and garlic, then add back the ground beef. Add the corn mixture, the tomatoes, and 1/2 the peppers.
Leave it alone for 30 minutes. Add a little beef broth if it seems too thick, it seems to soupy, take an emulsion blender, and give it a few pulses. Add the rest of the pepper mixture. Cook for another 15 minutes.

This is one of those that are better the next day.

Serve with corn chips, and your favorite beer or soda.

Later Gators

Mistress of the Kitchen

Monday, March 16, 2009

Spring is in the Air!

Spring is here!

Spring always reminds of light suppers and different types of salads, and meals that take no time to make.

Why not do something different for dinner? How about an orzo salad with a Chinese twist? Simple to put together, and tasty. Orzo is always fun. It is this small rice-shaped pasta. Sometimes you can substitute it for rice, and visa versa. The cool part of this dish is that it can be served hot or cold.
Why not make a little extra for lunch? Take this to work and your co-workers may be jealous.

Pork tenderloin marinated in teriyaki cut into bite sized pieces. (Turkey and be substituted if you prefer)
One medium onion, minced
2 cups of bell peppers-mix green, red and yellow, cut into bite sized pieces
2 cloves of garlic, minced
teriyaki sauce
soy sauce
Chinese 5 spice.
One box of Orzo pasta.
One cup of sliced mushrooms
½ a bag of frozen pineapple chucks
2 tablespoons of apricot/pineapple jam
1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard

Bring a big pot of water to boil and salt and a tablespoon of sesame oil.
Chop up green beans. Be sure to remove the tip and strings add to the pork
Add mushrooms, add pineapple

Heat until the mushrooms and cooked and the pineapple is hot.
To finish the sauce, add a little more teriyaki and soy sauce, the jam and the mustard. Bring to a boil in order to melt the jam and incorporate into the dish
Drain the orzo and Mix it into the pork.
This dish is good hot or cold. Keep the leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator. It is good for about a week.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

How to make Corned Beef and Cabbage

Top of the Mornin' to ya'. March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day.

This is a semi favorite for St Patrick’s Day—although not exactly a traditional Irish meal. It was definitely born here in America. Next to all the beer and whiskey you can drink, and the "wearin' of the green".

This is a variation of the “New England” Boiled dinner. Basically every thing went in one pot the beef or pork shoulder, some vegetables, and what ever root vegetables were on hand. Most of the newly immigrated Irish were poor, so they couldn't’t but the best cuts of beef or meat, so they improvised, and learned that if you cook shoulder and brisket for a long time, it will come out tender. The more traditional dinners were just boiled in water. Later we learned, things taste better when cooked in stock or beer.

I spend part of my childhood in New England, so maybe that is why I relate to the one pot meal. Mom called my early versions of the one pot meal “Bubble Gum casseroles”. More on that topic later.

This is my version of Corned Beef and Cabbage.
You need a crock pot
Beef stock and dark beer
1 bay leaf
An onion
Beef roast
Whole pepper corns
Worcestershire sauce
Coarse ground sea salt.

One of the nice features of our modern super markets is that you can buy a package of beef brisket with the packet of pepper corns included.

In the bottom of a 5 quart crock pot layer a diced onion, the bay leaf, and celery chopped.
On top of that add the beef and the pepper packet. Add coarse sea salt, and beef broth. Add a dash of Worcestershire.
Cook on low for 6 hours.
Cut the potatoes in large cubes and place on top of the beef. Add the sliced carrots. Chop the cabbage into large chucks place on top season with more coarse sea salt, and let simmer for about another hour.
Just before serving, remove the bay leaf,and discard it. Carefuly take the beef out of the pot, and let it rest before carving.

Serve this with lots of hearty brown bread and butter. Yummy!

Mistress Kimberly

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Rice Ole

I think it is time to take one direction and follow it. I admit I have been all over the place lately. It feels rather chaotic. I think the direction this is going to take is cooking.

I know, type cooking into any search engine and you will get thousands of hits. Well, cooking is one of first passions, My Mother, and Grandmother have let me "play" and create in the kitchen since the age of four. I remember in my Grammy's kitchen, I had my own work table and apron. Somewhere in the family albums is a picture of me being my "creative" self. So this is my tribute to her. If she were still live, Gram, it would probably embrace her. She was a very modest woman. And she knew how to make dishes "quick and tasty" on a budget.

So first up:

This was a favorite. All you need is one skillet. i am glad this recipe is still around.

Riceland Rice Ole'
1/2 cup uncooked Riceland Extra Long Grain Rice
1 lb. ground beef
3/4 cup chopped onion
1 Tbsp. butter or meat drippings
2-1/4 cups water
1 beef bouillon cube
1/4 cup tomato paste
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 lb. Cheddar cheese, cubed

Brown meat and onions in butter, stirring to break meat apart. Stir in rice, water, bouillon cube and tomato paste; add seasonings. Heat to boiling; stir well and cover. Simmer 25 minutes. Add cheese cubes and toss lightly. Serve immediately. (From our "Riceland Rice Cookbook")

Serves 6

We just added a green salad, and some bread and had a great lunch. Yes, bread, it is southern thing, One always served bread with a meal.

I want to thank Riceland Rice for their recipes and ideas. Gram had a recipe booklet from them. She used it all the time.

Riceland is an Arkansas company. You can not get it where I live, but that would be competition, I live near the rice fields of California.

Anyway check out their website. there is a section for their classic recipes, and a section call "All About Rice".

Well y'all, till next time