MAPLE GLAZED DUCK , ROSEMARY FINGERLINGS & BLOOD ORANGE SALAD – a review

Because of the flu epidemic and my risk of infection still, I have been staying home and this week I ordered from both Hello Fresh and Home Chef for meals. I always make their recipes the way they are written the first time with the exception of allergy ingredients like the mustard in this one. I split the ingredients and did the mustard version for hubby and NOT for me since I’m deadly allergic.

All in all, this was a fantastic recipe! I’m not normally fond of rosemary and will try it with tarragon the next time. I will probably use a spring mix instead of arugula also. The arugula is just a bit bitter for my tastes and since I no longer have any “EMPTY” bites, I want to make them ALL count. If it’s out of season, I believe the blood orange can be substituted for ANY sweet citrus.

MAPLE GLAZED DUCK , ROSEMARY FINGERLINGS & BLOOD ORANGE SALAD serves 2
2 duck breasts, 6 ounces each, scored criss cross on the fat side
3/4 pound fingerling potatoes, washed and halved lengthwise
several sprigs FRESH rosemary, leaves picked from stems (discard stems)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 blood orange, zested (reserve), peeled and sliced crosswise into rounds
2 ounces arugula (a handful)
2 tablespoons PURE maple syrup
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
Fresh ground salt and pepper, to taste
Avocado oil

  • Place potatoes in a large pot covered in salted water by 1 inch.
  • Bring to a boil and cook 15 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork.
  • Drain thoroughly. Return drained potatoes to pan. Set aside.
  • While potatoes are cooking, pat duck dry with paper towel.
  • Generously season duck with salt and pepper.
  • Place skin side down in skillet over medium heat, cooking 12-15 minutes until most fat has rendered and skin is crisp. (Lower heat if skin is beginning to burn)
  • Pour off and reserve the fat as it renders.
  • Roughly chop rosemary leaves until you have 1 tablespoon.
  • Return potatoes to medium high heat.
  • Add just enough of the rendered duck fat to the pan to coat the bottom.
  • Add 2 teaspoons of the rosemary, cooking and tossing until potatoes are crisped and browned.
  • Add garlic and cook until fragrant a few minutes more.
  • Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
  • Combine the maple syrup, 1 teaspoon of mustard, orange zest and remaining chopped rosemary in a small bowl.
  • When duck is crisped, flip the duck over.
  • Spoon maple syrup mixture over duck and cook until duck reaches desired doneness, 2-5 minutes.
  • Remove duck from pan and set aside to rest.
  • Pour remaining sauce from pan into a small bowl.
  • In a salad bowl toss together the arugula, orange rounds and drizzle with avocado oil and 1 teaspoon of the mustard.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Stir 1 teaspoon of the mustard into the reserved sauce from the pan along with any pan juices.
  • Slice duck crosswise.
  • Plate duck, potatoes and salad.
  • Drizzle sauce over duck.
  • Serve immediately.

A little this and a little that…

We’ve been here rehabbing the house from hell for a little over 2 years now. During this time I have realized what horrible drivers live here and how horribly they maintain roads here, but that’s why about half way through we realized we didn’t want to stay here and knew we were leaving – we’re almost there.

I am though LMBO at how many times this major U.S. city has “closed” during that time. For a city that claims it can handle water, 2 of the times were for flooding, another for the hurricane (totally understandable), but this last time was for a cold front with sleet and ice. This time is the one that makes me laugh the most!  They started closing schools the night before the cold front when it was still 60 degrees out and clear. Now it did get COLD, SERIOUSLY cold, but to shut down a city of 6 million is ridiculous! If they only knew how to drive here, would slow down and watch for ice, it would be so much easier!  Emergency personnel were left in place for excessively long shifts and others told to stay home completely. Restaurants closed, stores closed, I mean there wasn’t even any mail delivery or garbage pick up. WTH?

Hubby and I prefer to live in the colder regions, hence why we’re not staying here where it is normally warm, hot and humid.  More than once when we were in the U.P. we would go somewhere and it was a nice day, and then WHAM BAM a sudden lake effect snow or blizzard would hit and you were now trudging home in unbelievable weather, once from 70 miles away. It was a place that didn’t close schools very often, but did do delayed starts at times. Even with a massive cold front in the Pacific Northwest, the world went on.

We finally got out a little bit today (it’s still only 31 degrees but REALLY sunny)  and were amazed at how many roads are closed and how few places were even open.  We went to a favorite restaurant that is normally packed at lunchtime and they only had 3 tables when we left, we had been their first at 11:45 when they opened at 11!

This was our drain pipe out back. As you can see there was ice, but not enough to close a city! So after living near the Canadian border for several years and traveling across the northern border of the U.S. in January and then living in the Pacific Northwest for several winters, I am truly laughing my butt off this week.  LAUGHTER truly is the BEST medicine.

SALTED CARAMEL CHOCOLATE NUT BARS

SALTED CARAMEL CHOCOLATE NUT BARS – the ultimate cookie bar for those that LOVE both sweet and salty mixed together! adapted (but not by much!) from Brown Eyed Baker

Yield: 16 cookie bars                Prep:15 minutes
Cook:30 minutes                      Total:45 minutes

2 1/8 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips**
1/2 cup Heath Bar Toffee Bits
10 ounces caramel candy squares, unwrapped
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
3 tablespoons heavy cream or buttermilk
Fleur de sel (Sea salt), for sprinkling over caramel and bars

  • Preheat oven to 325°.
  • Grease a 12×5 inch baking pan and line with parchment paper; set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  • Using an electric mixer, mix together the melted butter and sugars on medium speed until combined.
  • Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract and mix until smooth.
  • Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix on low, just until combined.
  • Stir in the chocolate chips, toffee bits and walnuts.
  • In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine the caramels and heavy cream.
  • Microwave on high until the caramels are melted, stirring every 20 seconds. This will take about 2 minutes.
  • Press half of the cookie dough into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with a spatula.
  • Pour the hot caramel over the dough cookie dough and spread into an even layer, leaving about ½ inch around the border.
  • Sprinkle the caramel with sea salt.
  • Drop the remaining cookie dough in spoonfuls over the caramel and gently spread the dough with a spatula until the caramel is covered.
  • Sprinkle the bars with additional sea salt.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top of the bars are light golden brown and the edges start to pull away from the pan.
  • Place the pan on a wire rack and cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for about 30 minutes to allow the caramel layer to set.
  • Cut into squares and serve.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

NOTE: ** I like to use  mixture of peanut butter and milk chocolate chips.

My version of P. F. Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps

With this horrible recuperation and limited food, eating out is a real pain in the butt.  BUT, I’m in love! In love with restaurants that have great appetizer menus.  LOL  😀 I ordered the Chicken Lettuce Wraps at P.F. Chang’s the other day from their appetizer menu and got 4 meals out of it!  But, what I fell in love with was the actual flavor.  The added bonus was the small chop on all the ingredients making it easy for me eat AND it heats up in the microwave for subsequent meals tasting the same as it did served fresh! So, of course I had to duplicate the recipe for home use and believe I have come REALLY close.

P.F. CHANG’S CHICKEN LETTUCE WRAPS
3 tablespoons avocado oil
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup water chestnut, diced small
2⁄3 cup mushroom, diced small
1 small shallot, diced
1 bunch green onions, sliced thin
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 leaves butter lettuce
1/2-1 cup crispy rice noodles
freshly ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste

  • Bring oil to high heat in a wok or large frying pan.
  • Saute chicken breasts for 4 to 5 minutes per side or done.
  • Remove chicken from the pan and cool.
  • Add shallots and green onions to pan sautéing until soft.
  • Add water chestnuts, garlic, mushrooms and ginger, sautéing a few minutes more.
  • Add stir fry sauce and stir until well blended.
  • When chicken is cool, shred it as small as the mushrooms and water chestnuts pieces are.
  • Add chicken into mixture, toss to blend and coat well.

STIR FRY SAUCE
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

  • Whisk together the soy sauce, brown sugar, and rice vinegar in a small bowl.

SPECIAL SAUCE
1⁄4 cup sugar
⁄2 cup water
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1⁄4 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons water
1 -2 teaspoon Siracha

  • Whisk together the sugar and water in a small bowl until completely dissolved.
  • Add soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, lemon juice, sesame oil, hoisin sauce and desired amount of Siracha whisking until well blended.

ASSEMBLY

  • Serve each helping in a lettuce leaf.
  • Top with a handful of crispy rice noodles.
  • Pour Special sauce over the wraps.

Linking up to FULL Plate Thursday.

HAPPY HOMEMAKER & MENU PLAN MONDAY week 3 of 2018

Week 3 of 2018 is underway and I’m anxious to be over this recuperation mode and ready to get my energy back and get some serious things done! Though, it will be 6 more weeks until I get formally released and begin a serious exercise routine. That said, with ALL this flu going around I’m just as happy to be stuck inside away from people.

OUTSIDE MY WINDOW & THE WEATHER OUTSIDE

We’re having ANOTHER cold snap here and are supposed to have rain and wintry mix sleet added to the mix tomorrow and Wednesday. With the flu epidemic at raging proportions I’m really staying in and away from people!

ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE

GERBER’S GRABBER – Apple Carrot Pineapple & Green Tea

CRAFTS / PROJECTS

I started working on finishing the kitchen counters.

ON MY MIND / THINGS THAT ARE MAKING ME HAPPY

Starting later this week I can start to do a few more things, but am told the serious exercise and packing have to wait until the 90 day mark.  I’m handling the food part okay and realize it will actually save us some money in the long run though that is being eaten up by the mandatory 5 times a day vitamins.  They also sent me a blood work order to have done next month and I’m dreading the new 4 times a year blood work – 20 freaking tests!

FAVORITE PHOTO FROM THE CAMERA

We’ve been having quite a bit of clear weather lately and the sunsets have been really pretty.

INSPIRATION

AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE / WEEKLY TO DO LIST & HOUSE PROJECTS

  • LAUNDRY… quite a few loads this week, towels, bedding and clothing – STILL washing most things every other day for a few more weeks to prevent infection
  • LIVING AREAS… can’t wait until I can relieve hubby of the duties and do a deep clean
  • KITCHEN… also needs a deep cleaning and paint touch up
  • STUDIO… is mainly storage these days so nothing going on there
  • YARD… hubby is going to mow and vinegar salt the weeds today before the rain tonight
  • BLOG… some recipe updating, future post planning and holiday post planning

CURRENTLY READING & TELEVISION / DVR

We’ve rented a bunch of Netflix movies the last several weeks to get me through the boredom and cold weather, but I’ve seen just about everything I want to see for awhile – really looking forward to spring at this point and getting out of this house!

  • I’m now reading Sophie Moss’ Seal Island series during my recuperation and am book #2, The Selkie Enchantress.

COMEDIES

  • BIG BANG THEORY, YOUNG SHELDON
  • THE GOOD PLACE, AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE, SPEECHLESS, GREAT NEWS
  • BETTER LATE THAN NEVER, LIFE IN PIECES

MILITARY, POLITICAL & CRIME DRAMAS and a couple that qualify as comedies

  • NCIS, NCIS NEW ORLEANS and NCIS LA, CRIMINAL MINDS, WISDOM OF THE CROWD, S.W.A.T.
  • MADAM SECRETARY, SCANDAL, DESIGNATED SURVIVOR
  • BRAVE, VALOR, SEAL TEAM, BLINDSPOT, MACGYVER, SCORPION
  • LAW & ORDER SVU, BLUE BLOODS, HAWAII 5-0, ELEMENTARY
  • CHICAGO FIRE, CHICAGO PD, CHICAGO MED, 911

DRAMAS

  • THE GOOD DOCTOR, THIS IS US, THE RESIDENT starts later this week

SYFY

  • Z NATION, the WALKING DEAD, FLASH, SUPERGIRL, DC LEGENDS
  • ORVILLE, ONCE UPON A TIME, THE X-FILES, THE ALIENIST starts later this week

COOKING

  • GUY’S GROCERY GAMES, BEAT BOBBY FLAY, BOBBY AND DAMARIS, BAKED IN VERMONT
  • KID’S BAKING CHAMPIONSHIP, WORST COOKS IN AMERICA

MENU PLANS FOR THE WEEK

I’ve placed orders this week with Home Chef and Hello Fresh to get back into the swing of cooking without leaving the house to shop since I still can’t carry grocery bags yet and I’m trying to stay away from people in general, but there will still be leftovers unfortunately. I planned a couple C.O.R.N. nights to use the leftovers.

MONDAY
TUESDAY
WEDNESDAY
THURSDAY
FRIDAY
SATURDAY
SUNDAY
B-FAST
3-4 ounces EGGS or OATMEAL and GREEN Tea
3-4 ounces EGGS or OATMEAL and GREEN Tea
3-4 ounces EGGS or OATMEAL and GREEN Tea
3-4 ounces EGGS or OATMEAL and GREEN Tea
3-4 ounces EGGS or OATMEAL and GREEN Tea
TOASTED FRENCH TOAST
BACON & EGGS
2 times a day
1 cup  1% MILK  or PROTEIN DRINK
1 cup  1% MILK  or PROTEIN DRINK
1 cup  1% MILK  or PROTEIN DRINK
1 cup  1% MILK  or PROTEIN DRINK
1 cup  1% MILK  or PROTEIN DRINK
1 cup  1% MILK  or PROTEIN DRINK
1 cup  1% MILK  or PROTEIN DRINK
1 time a day
2-4 ounces tuna salad or yogurt
2-4 ounces tuna salad or yogurt
2-4 ounces tuna salad or yogurt
2-4 ounces tuna salad or yogurt
2-4 ounces tuna salad or yogurt
2-4 ounces tuna salad or yogurt
2-4 ounces tuna salad or yogurt
LUNCH & DINNER
2 OUNCES PROTEIN with a  small salad

MAPLE GLAZED DUCK with BLOOD ORANGE SALAD and FINGERLING POTATOES

2 OUNCES PROTEIN with a  small salad

PARMESAN and ROSEMARY PORK CHOPS with ALMOND COUSCOUS and ROASTED CARROTS

2 OUNCES PROTEIN with a  small salad

CRISPY ONION CHICKEN with GREEN BEANS and MUSHROOM GRAVY

2 OUNCES PROTEIN with a  small salad

CHICKEN UNDER A ZUCCHINI BLANKET with MASHED POTATOES and GREEN BEANS

2 OUNCES PROTEIN with a  small salad

C.O.R.N.

2 OUNCES PROTEIN with a  small salad

SPAGHETTI & RICOTTA MEATBALLS with GARLIC GREEN BEANS

2 OUNCES PROTEIN with a  small salad

C.O.R.N.

SUCCESSFUL RECIPE LINKS FROM LAST WEEK

While these recipes were successful, we still prefer my Laverne Defazio pot roast and my Aloha BBQ Ribs (recipe later this month when I make them) to either of these recipes.  I posted them in case anyone prefers their flavor profiles.

HEALTH & BEAUTY TIPS

HOMEMAKING/COOKING TIP

Be sure to link up with Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for Happy homemaker Monday and with Laura at I’m an Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

PINEAPPLE PEANUT BUTTER RIBS

Hubby is loving the new style of cooking. I’m trying to make recipes that leave plenty of easy to eat for lunch items also. These slow cooker recipes are perfect for while I’m “LEARNING” to eat again. These allow me to cook a few times a week with plenty of C.O.R.N. (Clean Out Refrigerator Night) in between.

PINEAPPLE PEANUT BUTTER RIBS
3 1/2 pounds baby back ribs, cut in half
11.5 ounce frozen juice concentrate (orange pineapple) thawed
6 ounces pineapple juice
1/2 cup Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup fresh minced cilantro
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • Whisk together the juice concentrate, liquid aminos, peanut butter, cilantro, ginger, garlic and sugar. Reserve 3/4 cup for dipping sauce later.
  • Place ribs in a large ziplock bag or marinated.
  • Pour marinade over top and turn ribs to coat, cover and seal.
  • Marinade for 8 hours or overnight, turning ribs periodically.
  • Remove ribs from marinade.
  • Stand ribs around the slow cooker if deep enough. If not, loosely layer ribs in the slow cooker.
  • Cover and cook on HIGH 1 hour.
  • Reduce heat to LOW and cook 5 more hours.
  • Heat reserved sauce and served with ribs for dipping.

NOTE: Standing the ribs will bring them into contact with the best heat source for crispy brown edges like they had been smoked for hours.

Linking up to FULL Plate Thursday.

MAXINE’S POT ROAST vs. GRAM’S POT ROAST OR LAVERNE DEFAZIO POT ROAST

Some of the recipes I have been waiting to try are from Southern Living’s Off the Beaten Path series. This recipe is from Maxine’s on Main in Bastrop, Texas. I made very few changes as time went on. While this was good, I still prefer MY old recipe that I’ve been using for years and I’ve shared at the bottom. But, one of my ALL time favorites is my Laverne DeFazio Pot Roast!

These slow cooker recipes are perfect for while I’m “LEARNING” to eat again. These allow me to cook a few times a week with plenty of C.O.R.N. (Clean Out Refrigerator Night) in between.

MAXINE’S POT ROAST
2 tablespoons Avocado oil
3 pound boneless chuck roast
1 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
3 medium red potatoes, washed and quartered
2 celery ribs, washed and large chopped
2 carrots, washed and large chopped
1 LARGE Vidalia onion, large diced
3 cups STRONG brewed coffee
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Kitchen Bouquet
3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup Wondra flour
3/4 teaspoon salt

  • Whisk together 1 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper, 2 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt, 1 1/2 teaspoon onion powder and 1 1/2 seasoned salt.
  • Rub seasoning mixture over entire roast.
  • In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown roast on all sides and edges.
  • Place roast and potatoes in slow cooker.
  • Saute’ celery, carrots and onions in hot drippings from browning the roast.
  • Add coffee, Worcestershire sauce and Kitchen Bouquet cooking for 3-5 minutes, loosening any particles stuck to the bottom of the skillet.
  • Pour over the roast and potatoes.
  • Cover and cook on LOW 8 hours or until roast and potatoes are fork tender.
  • Transfer roast and vegetables to a serving platter.
  • Shred roast with forks, cover and keep warm.
  • Melt butter in saucepan.
  • Whisk in flour until golden.
  • Add to drippings in crock pot, stirring to blend well and cooking until desired consistency.
  • Serve with Mashed potatoes, vegetables and roast.
MY SUPER SAVORY POT ROAST & VEGGIES
I love Pot Roast. I adapted grams old recipe to my family and their likes.
3+ pound Pot Roast
2 medium Onions
1 bag baby carrots
3 Tablespoons Avocado Oil
3 large Yukon potatoes~scrubbed clean, but not peeled
Kosher Salt
White & Black Pepper
2-3 LARGE cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon Pampered Chef Rosemary mix
Beef bullion
Red Wine (2 cups) OR White Wine (2 cups) or plain old broth (2 cups) or combination of the three.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 350°. The meat you use is important. My favorite roast is the chuck roast because it has wonderful marbling throughout the meat, and when cooked right (prep, cover, cook ~ don’t fiddle with it while it’s in the oven) any chuck roast winds up being tender and melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Be aware that the tougher the piece of meat is, the longer it needs to cook so that the connective tissue will soften and break down. You truly can’t rush a pot roast, you’ll be disappointed if you try as it will be dry or lack flavor. BE PATIENT. You want the meat to basically fall apart. You SHOULD NOT need a knife to cut it.
  • Bring the piece of meat to room temperature.
  • GENEROUSLY sprinkle the first side of meat with the Kosher Salt and Pepper mix.
  • Heat enough avocado oil in the bottom of a fry pan on medium-high heat to make a thick coating.
  • Cut the onions tip to root, cut off root and stem, peel and lay flat into hot oil. Brown both sides well.
  • Remove to side.
  • Add the baby carrots and do the same. I normally cut each carrot just in half. Brown carrots (you’re aiming more for color here than cooking them). They will have plenty of time to cook in the oven.
  • Add garlic and spices at this point. By this time I have put them all into a mortar and pestle to revive their scents and aromas.
  • When carrots are finished, remove them to the same plate as the onions. If necessary add more olive oil to the pan and add the roast seasoned side down. While it’s browning season the other side really well. Brown both sides and all edges really well.

Now, for the oven I like to use my grandma’s old Magnalite dutch oven which cooks really even! And see those little hobnail bumps in on the bottom side of the lid? Those are better known as drip catchers. They collect the steam from the juices and redistributes it all right back down on the roast as it cooks. These help keep the meat moist and juicy.

  • After the roast is browned, place it in the dutch oven and spread vegetables all around it.
  • While fry pan is still hot, add white or red wine and the beef bullion to deglaze the pan ~ make sure you scrape up all the stuck little bits from the bottom. Cook long enough to mix well and then pour over the roast. The liquid should come up at least half way on the sides of the roast and vegetable mixture. For this recipe we added the white wine to the recipe and drank the red. The red wine, Harrod wine, is from our nephew’s vineyard so we don’t waste it cooking, but enjoy every last drop.
  • Put the lid on the dutch oven, put it in the oven, don’t open the door for AT LEAST 3 hours! Today’s roast was 2.39 pounds and I roasted it for 3 1/2 hours. Go relax or at least get the dishes you’ve dirtied so far done up. At 3 hours, I prep the potatoes for boiling. I prefer not to cook mine with the roast  every time ~ sometimes I prefer a bit of substance instead of the mush they can become with the roast. I do a basic mashed with heavy cream, salt, pepper, and butter (hey you gotta splurge a little sometimes!)

PAN SEARED SEA BASS with LEMON GARLIC BUTTER SAUCE

PAN SEARED SEA BASS with LEMON GARLIC BUTTER SAUCE
2-6 ounce sea bass fillets
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 + 1 tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic, minced
Juice of 1 LARGE lemon
1 lemon, sliced
Fresh ground sea salt and pepper, to taste

  • Over a medium high heat heat 1 tablespoon butter in large skillet.
  • Coat each fillet with avocado oil and generously season with the fresh ground salt and pepper.
  • When sizzling, add each fillet to hot oil and cook for 5 minutes before flipping and cooking on the other side for 4 more minutes.

 

  • While fillets are cooking melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a small sauce pan.
  • Add garlic, sautéing about 2 minutes.
  • Whisk in lemon juice.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add lemon slices, cooking until slightly thick.

 

  • Plate fillets and top with sauce.
  • Serve immediately.

Linking up to FULL Plate Thursday.

SLOW COOKER SPAGHETTI CASSEROLE

This is a very altered recipe from the Southern Living Slow Cooker cookbook. I changed amounts, flavor profiles and we really think it was for the best. There was no garlic in the original recipe and they used cheddar cheese! So NOT Italian!

SLOW COOKER SPAGHETTI CASSEROLE makes 6-8 servings
1 pound ground chuck (for something spicier, use Hot Italian Sausage)
1 LARGE shallot, diced
15 ounce jar CLASSICO Four Cheese Tomato Cream Sauce
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup Wondra flour
12 ounces evaporated milk
1/2 cup FRESH grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh ground salt and pepper, to taste
8 ounces uncooked spaghetti, broken into pieces**
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
avocado oil

  • In a large skillet over medium high heat a small amount of avocado oil.
  • Add ground chuck and diced shallot. When just about browned add garlic and saute’ a minute more.
  • Drain off all fat and return meat to pan.
  • Add CLASSICO sauce to meat and blend well.

 

  • In a small sauce pan over medium high heat, melt butter.
  • Add flour, whisking until golden.
  • Slowly whisk in evaporated milk until well blended and thickened.
  • Remove from heat and add Parmesan cheese.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.

 

  • Lightly spray the slow cooker with non stick spray.
  • Spoon half of meat mixture into slow cooker and spread evenly.
  • Top with half of the spaghetti pieces.
  • Spoon half of Parmesan cheese mixture over the spaghetti pieces and spread evenly.
  • Top with half of the Mozzarella cheese.
  • Repeat layers.

 

  • Cover and cook on LOW 4 hours.
  • Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
  • Serve with fresh grated Parmesan cheese.

NOTE**: I can sometimes find “pot size” spaghetti which is just half size spaghetti so much less mess with breaking and they fit in the slow cooker perfectly.

HAPPY HOMEMAKER & MENU PLAN MONDAY week 2 of 2018

WOW, it seems like it was just new year’s eve and here we are on the 8th already entering week 2! I hope you all had a great week. Mine was still low key as I continue to recuperate.  2 more weeks and I can enter a more normal activity life. YAY!!!!

OUTSIDE MY WINDOW & THE WEATHER OUTSIDE

The SUPER cold snap has broken here and the day time temps are supposed to be in the 60’s with the lows in the 30’s and 40’s, so I’m actually loving the weather right now.

ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE

Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal with golden raisins

CRAFTS / PROJECTS

Unfortunately, I just didn’t have the drive to get anything accomplished during this recuperation. I’ve just been so slow to get my energy back.

ON MY MIND / THINGS THAT ARE MAKING ME HAPPY

I had a good 1 month check up with the surgeon this past Thursday. He said I’m doing great , but still have 2 more weeks of no lifting or cleaning etc… He did give me the go ahead to start experimenting with veggies and fruits to see what my body can tolerate. He wants me eating more calories because I’m losing too much weight.

The one thing that many people don’t understand is that this will never get bigger or stretch, IT IS WHAT IT IS FOREVER! So, I made up a diagram that makes it easier to see that the change is permanent.  It also shows why more chewing and smaller portions are necessary as a few digestive processes are now bypassed.

The biggest issue I recently found out about is that there are tons of medications that I can NEVER take again because of the bypass because they can do serious damage to the “new” smaller stomach.  Among them are the medications I take for Fibromyalgia and Systemic Lupus leaving me with only an occasional Tylenol as my only alternative for ANY pain.

FAVORITE PHOTO FROM THE CAMERA

With the deep cold I never left the house except to go to the doctor so never even took a picture last week.

INSPIRATION

AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE / WEEKLY TO DO LIST & HOUSE PROJECTS

  • LAUNDRYquite a few loads this week, towels, bedding and clothing
  • LIVING AREASplan on doing a deep clean today and tomorrow
  • KITCHENpretty clean
  • STUDIOis mainly storage these days so nothing going on there
  • YARD nothing
  • BLOGsome recipe updating, future post planning

CURRENTLY READING & TELEVISION / DVR

  • I’m reading Sophie Moss’ Wind Chime series during my recuperation and am book #3, WIND CHIME SUMMER.

COMEDIES

  • BIG BANG THEORY, YOUNG SHELDON
  • THE GOOD PLACE, AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE, SPEECHLESS, GREAT NEWS
  • BETTER LATE THAN NEVER, LIFE IN PIECES

MILITARY, POLITICAL & CRIME DRAMAS and a couple that qualify as comedies

  • NCIS, NCIS NEW ORLEANS and NCIS LA, CRIMINAL MINDS, WISDOM OF THE CROWD, S.W.A.T.
  • MADAM SECRETARY, SCANDAL, DESIGNATED SURVIVOR
  • BRAVE, VALOR, SEAL TEAM, BLINDSPOT, MACGYVER, SCORPION
  • LAW & ORDER SVU, BLUE BLOODS, HAWAII 5-0, ELEMENTARY
  • CHICAGO FIRE, CHICAGO PD, CHICAGO MED

DRAMAS

  • THE GOOD DOCTOR, THIS IS US

SYFY

  • Z NATION, WALKING DEAD, FLASH, SUPERGIRL, DC LEGENDS
  • ORVILLE, ONCE UPON A TIME, THE X-FILES

COOKING

  • GUY’S GROCERY GAMES, BEAT BOBBY FLAY, BOBBY AND DAMARIS, BAKED IN VERMONT
  • KID’S BAKING CHAMPIONSHIP, WORST COOKS IN AMERICA

MENU PLANS FOR THE WEEK
In the beginning I told hubby NOT to get used to my existing diet and the doctor has given me the permission to cook though I still cannot lift so hubby still has to help with the shopping, but is going to have to give up the bachelor foods 😀   While I can only eat a bite or two of what I make, there is NO reason hubby shouldn’t get a few home cooked meals this week. Food will go a A LOT further now, but I am going to have to adapt the recipes A LOT.

I also began Home Chef again for 4 meals this month to ease me back into things.  No matter how you look at it proportions are going to be a challenge so now is the time to start rewriting and reworking recipes.  I will also plan more C.O.R.N. nights into my menus.

In the meantime I will continue working on combining blogs with older recipes and developing newer recipes that encompass ALL the new requirements. I look forward to previewing those rework recipes in a few months.

MONDAY
TUESDAY
WEDNESDAY
THURSDAY
FRIDAY
SATURDAY
SUNDAY
B-FAST
3-4 ounces SCRAMBLED EGGS, OATMEAL or WHOLE GRAIN CEREAL and GREEN Tea
3-4 ounces SCRAMBLED EGGS, OATMEAL or WHOLE GRAIN CEREAL and GREEN Tea
3-4 ounces SCRAMBLED EGGS, OATMEAL or WHOLE GRAIN CEREAL and GREEN Tea
3-4 ounces SCRAMBLED EGGS, OATMEAL or WHOLE GRAIN CEREAL and GREEN Tea
3-4 ounces SCRAMBLED EGGS, OATMEAL or WHOLE GRAIN CEREAL and GREEN Tea
3-4 ounces SCRAMBLED EGGS, OATMEAL or WHOLE GRAIN CEREAL and GREEN Tea
3-4 ounces SCRAMBLED EGGS, OATMEAL or WHOLE GRAIN CEREAL and GREEN Tea
2 times a day
1 cup LOWFAT MILK or PROTEIN DRINK
1 cup LOWFAT MILK or PROTEIN DRINK
1 cup LOWFAT MILK or PROTEIN DRINK
1 cup LOWFAT MILK or PROTEIN DRINK
1 cup LOWFAT MILK or PROTEIN DRINK
1 cup LOWFAT MILK or PROTEIN DRINK
1 cup LOWFAT MILK or PROTEIN DRINK
1 time a day
2-4 ounces tuna salad or yogurt
2-4 ounces tuna salad or yogurt
2-4 ounces tuna salad or yogurt
2-4 ounces tuna salad or yogurt
2-4 ounces tuna salad or yogurt
2-4 ounces tuna salad or yogurt
2-4 ounces tuna salad or yogurt
ME 2 times  day

 

 

 DINNER FOR HUBBY

2 OUNCES PROTEIN – BROILED FISH or CHICKEN and VERY small salad

PINEAPPLE PEANUT BUTTER BABY BACK RIBS

2 OUNCES PROTEIN – BROILED FISH or CHICKEN and VERY small salad

C.O.R.N.

2 OUNCES PROTEIN – BROILED FISH or CHICKEN and VERY small salad

SPAGHETTI CASSEROLE

2 OUNCES PROTEIN – BROILED FISH or CHICKEN and VERY small salad

C.O.R.N.

2 OUNCES PROTEIN – BROILED FISH or CHICKEN and VERY small salad

COFFEE BREWED POT-ROAST & BUTTERMILK CORNBREAD

2 OUNCES PROTEIN – BROILED FISH or CHICKEN and VERY small salad

C.O.R.N.

2 OUNCES PROTEIN – BROILED FISH or CHICKEN and VERY small salad

C.O.R.N.

& SALTED CARAMEL CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE BARS

SUCCESSFUL RECIPE LINKS FROM LAST WEEK

HEALTH & BEAUTY TIPS

HOMEMAKING/COOKING TIP

Be sure to link up with Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for Happy homemaker Monday and with Laura at I’m an Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

BEET PICKLED DEVILED EGGS

A few years ago I saw an article on Chinese Tea eggs. They were so beautiful and intrigued me enough that I wanted to make some. Well I never quite got around to it, but then hubby asked for some deviled eggs and my brain went into overdrive. I decided to create the same affect with pickled beets.


PICKLED DEVILED EGGS
1 dozen eggs, hard boiled
1 jar pickled beets
1/8 + cup mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
Sweet Hungarian paprika

  • Boil eggs as normal. Rinse under cool water.
  • Drain beets, retaining juice.
  • Gently crack eggs all over.
  • In a medium skillet heat water and beet juice together.
  • Add eggs and simmer 20 minutes, gently rolling eggs periodically.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Remove eggs from pan and drain on paper towels.
  • Remove shells.
  • Slice open eggs and scoop out yolks.
  • Mash yolks with salt and pepper.
  • Add mayonnaise, vinegar and horseradish and blend well.
  • Fill eggs.
  • Sprinkle with paprika and serve.

I save the pickled beets to use with 1000 Island dressing on my Crab salad.


Submitted to FULL PLATE THURSDAY @Miz Helen’s Country Cottage.

MOZZARELLA CHEESE STICKS

MOZZARELLA STICKS
12 egg roll wrappers
12 string cheese
avocado or cocnut oil
Marinara sauce

  • Start in the corner of the egg roll wrapper and roll cheese half way.
  • Fold in at the corners
  • Brush remaining open edges with water and continue rolling until well sealed.
  • Heat 1/2 inch of oil to 375˚.
  • Fry sticks a few at a time until golden brown all the way around.
  • Drain on paper towels.
  • Serve with marinara.

Submitted to FULL PLATE THURSDAY @Miz Helen’s Country Cottage.