TUESDAY 4

My friend Martha is back to blogging over at Seaside Simplicity! I love it, because I find more and more ways to get back into blogging more than recipes by following her again 😀 So, it’s time for Tuesday 4 and this week it’s all about summer.

1. WHAT ACTIVITIES DID YOU ENJOY AS A KID IN THE SUMMER?

I grew up in rural southern California (when there was such a thing as rural in southern California) where the sun almost always shined.  Summer were hot, but doable in the dry heat and we lived outside playing ball, climbing trees, riding bikes or swimming in friend’s pools or hiking to the frog pond or pig farm in the hills around our area.  We were up with the sun and had to be home by the time the street lights came on. We did pop in for meals, but other than that we were expected to STAY outside. 

2. DID YOU GO ON VACATIONS? WHERE DID YOU GO?

Vacations were not an every year thing for us.  There were a few over the years, but it was usually shorter trips throughout the year that would be our vacations.  There were a couple of summers that I spent in Texas with family, but all in all there were no actual summer vacations.

3. DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE SUMMER TIME DINNER?

We LOVE salads and homemade dressing in the summertime or anything grilled.  Really anything that doesn’t heat up the house.  Here are a few of our favorite recipes.

4. HOW OFTEN DO YOU SIT OUTSIDE AND ENJOY AN ICED TEA OR COFFEE?

We do like to spend the early mornings and evenings after dinner on the patio with either our coffee in the morning or a glass of wine and/or a beer in the evening.  If it’s nice enough I will sometimes grab an iced tea and my kindle in the late afternoons.

Head over to Annie’s place to play along on Tuesday 4. And I’d love to hear about your summers too!

CHEDDAR, GREEN BEAN & BREAD CASSEROLE

CHEDDAR, GREEN BEAN & BREAD CASSEROLE
1 1/2 pounds trimmed greens beans
1 1/4 cups SMALL stale bread pieces
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 tablespoon butter, melted
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
FRESH ground nutmeg
1 1/4 cups WHOLE milk
1 cup grated EXTRA sharp cheddar cheese
Parmesan cheese, for garnish

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Blanch green beans in boiling water for 3-4 minutes until JUST tender.
  • Immediately transfer green beans in ice water and then drain WELL.
  • In a large bowl toss the bread pieces with the oil, melted butter and green onions. Set aside.
  • Whisk together 1/2 cup of the milk, cornstarch, nutmeg and FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper until smooth in a saucepan. Add in remaining milk and bring to a boil over a medium high heat for 2-3 minutes, but do not scald.
  • Reduce heat and gradually stir in cheddar and Parmesan until melted and smooth.
  • Toss with green beans to evenly coat.
  • Transfer green beans to baking dish.
  • Top with scallion bread crumbs.
  • Bake 25-30 minutes until golden brown.

HAPPY HOMEMAKER & MENU PLAN MONDAY week 26 of 2020

GOOD MORNING I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend and all your dads and hubbies had a relaxing father’s day.  I’m in a bit of a hurry this morning so I’ll make this quick.

An old friend from my early blogging days has rejoined the blogging force and I joined in with her yesterday for Sunday 6.  It is a really good lead in to today’s Happy Homemaker and Menu Plan Monday.

Be sure to join us for Happy Homemaker Monday and link up
with our host, Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom

OUTSIDE MY WINDOW & THE WEATHER OUTSIDE & WHAT I’M WEARING I have a long day starting with my mammogram at 830AM so have dressed comfy in jeans and a lightweight blouse with my favorite sandals to accommodate today’s heat.

ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE I’ll grab a banana and a bottle of water as I run out of the house to eat on my way.

AS I LOOK AROUND THE HOUSE, WEEKLY TO DO LIST, HOUSE & CRAFT PROJECTS, APPOINTMENTS

MONDAY
  • Mammogram
  • Nail appointment
  • Errands and groceries
TUESDAY
  • Pack up some things (winter blankets, etc…) for storage
WEDNESDAY
  • Letters, filing and phone calls
THURSDAY
  • Inventory freezer and pantry
FRIDAY
  • Cleaning & Laundry
SATURDAY
  • Project Research
SUNDAY
  • ??

WHAT’S ON THE DVR/TV We finished the Homeland Series – boy was that addicting!  Claire Danes did an excellent job (as did everyone else, but WOW just WOW was she convincing). We’re about to begin The Sopranos which we missed the first time around. We’re also watching TAXI and DHARMA and Greg which are always fun. We’re really addicted to binge watching shows these days. There are some cooking shows and NASCAR on the DVR to catch up on.

I’M READING Lately I’ve had 2 books going at all times. This week is Lisa Wingate’s The Book of Lost Friends and The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate.  Next up will be Hurricane Season by Lauren Denton

FAVORITE PHOTO FROM THE CAMERA There are a few this week.  I’m really loving all the floral color at this time of the year.  And a local tavern recently sold.  They’re testing out paint colors (we vote for the green that’s not in this picture) and they added some motorcycle parking spots.  I love that someone thought outside the box and added this cute little broken down pink bike for some humor. And I can’t believe that bumble bee posed for me and I was able to get the veins in his wings while I was on the move with just an iPhone!

INSPIRATIONAL

LIFE TIP

HOMEMAKING/COOKING TIP

MENU PLANS FOR THE WEEK

MONDAY
TUESDAY
WEDNESDAY
THURSDAY
FRIDAY
SATURDAY
SUNDAY
DINNER
CHICKEN CACCIATORE & SHEET PAN SCALLOPED POTATOES
VINEGAR CHICKEN & TURNIP POTATO GRATIN
STUFFED PEPPERS & CABBAGE SLAW
C.O.R.N. acronym for clean out refrigerator night
CHICKEN PEANUT STEW & CHEDDAR MUFFINS
CHICKEN FRICASSEE, CREAMED CORN, & SALAD
APRICOT BBQ CHICKEN & BUTTERNUT, BACON, APPLE HOT DISH
DESSERT
LEMON LIME AUSTRALIAN CHEESECAKE
 

SUCCESSFUL RECIPE LINKS FROM LAST WEEK

FEATURED PARTY LINKS FOR THIS WEEK

RECIPES TO LOOK FOR THIS NEXT WEEK OR SO

  • CHEDDAR, GREEN BEAN & BREAD CASSEROLE
  • SNAPPER WRAPPER CASSEROLE
  • LEMON THYME MARINATED FRIED CHICKEN
  • VINEGAR CHICKEN

SUNDAY 6


An old friend that I met through blogging, had a great food blog with and have never actually met in real life, but feel like we’ve known each other forever… has returned to blogging after a couple years absence and I was blown away to see she was diving back in as if she never left.  Welcome back Martha!  She is doing what she calls, Sunday 6 over Seaside Simplicity. She’ll make it a link party if enough people want to join in.

Some of the categories overlap with categories I do also on Monday’s Happy Homemaker and Menu Plan Monday, but I’ll be brief in the overlap categories.

1. WEEKLY RECAP

I had a pretty good week and the weather was good.  We did get a couple little half day trips for photos done and overall had a good time despite life being turned upside down right now.  I did an inventory of my pantry back stock, freezer stock and menu planned through the 6TH of July so I could get a grocery list made for tomorrow’s grocery shopping.  I was also able to get the recipes lined up to post on both this blog and my “recipe” only blog Savory Kitchen Table.

2. TO DO LIST FOR THE WEEK

  • I have an early mammogram appointment and appointments for fingers and toes on Monday.
  • Hubby has some VA labs on Thursday.
  • Planning an upcoming trip to see friends in Montana – this requires so much planning to do it safely these days!
  • Update some old files and a couple letters that need to be made besides a couple phone calls.
3. MENU PLANS

MONDAY
TUESDAY
WEDNESDAY
THURSDAY
FRIDAY
SATURDAY
SUNDAY
DINNER
CHICKEN CACCIATORE & SHEET PAN SCALLOPED POTATOES
VINEGAR CHICKEN & TURNIP POTATO GRATIN
STUFFED PEPPERS & CABBAGE SLAW
C.O.R.N. acronym for clean out refrigerator night
CHICKEN PEANUT STEW & CHEDDAR MUFFINS
CHICKEN FRICASSEE, CREAMED CORN, & SALAD
APRICOT BBQ CHICKEN & BUTTERNUT, BACON, APPLE HOT DISH
DESSERT
LIME AUSTRALIAN CHEESECAKE
4. SOMETHING I LIKE TO SHARE
Martha shared a new blog which reminds me I need to get back into finding new blogs. I hate that my favorite reader went away and then there were a bunch of changes to the new one and I hate to admit I lost interest in things when my schedule was so busy. I’m going to try and start seeking out new blogs this year! In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a funny as we approach a new month that is indicative of all that we’re going through in 2020. 😀
5. PHOTO OF THE WEEK
 
This was a hard category for me – I just had too many favorites from this week and if you follow me on INSTAGRAM you know what I mean! 😀 That said, I have to say this Bumble Bee picture is probably top of the list.  I can’t believe I was able to actually get the veins in the wings even.  I took this on the move with my iPhone.
6. CLOSING NOTES
Sunday 6, Happy Homemaker and Menu Plan Monday are something I need to do regularly. My Virgo organizational habits are well suited by it 😀 I find I do best when I have a plan, a list or at the very least consistent organization that surrounds me.  I hope everyone is having a WONDERFUL and relaxing father’s day, maybe with some back yard BBQ or at least a couple drinks and a good meal.

AUSTRALIAN CHEESECAKE ~ LEMON CHERRY

I found this recipe in an old (1960’s) cookbook put together for a lake area homeowner’s association. I have no idea what makes it “AUSTRALIAN” and Ruth Traum is unknown to me so I can’t even ask her. I tried to do research and found several recipes called “Australian), but none of them said WHY they were “AUSTRALIAN”. Best I can tell it’s just a version of a no-bake cheesecake, but it’s SUPER airy and light.

Ruth’s recipe used lemon jello, but it is a simple thing to change up the flavor to your liking. I mixed a box of cherry and lemon, using only half then and saving the other half for another time. You can also substitute ginger snaps for the vanilla wafers or mix in some pretzels for and extra crunch… The second time I made it I used a combination of lemon and lime on the jello…  The cherry was better, but we’ll try orange next time 😀

AUSTRALIAN CHEESECAKE ~ LEMON CHERRY
1 small box Vanilla Wafers (crushed to make 2 cups of crumbs)
6 tablespoons butter, melted
8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 small box lemon jello
1 teaspoon vanilla
Juice and zest of 1 LARGE lemon + hot water to equal 1 cup
1 LARGE can Carnation milk (VERY COLD) 12 ounces VERY COLD heavy whipping cream
1 can pie cherries in glaze (optional)

  • Preheat oven to 300°.
  • Crush wafers and mix with melted butter until well mixed.
  • Press crumb mixture into the bottom of an 8 or 9 inch spring form pan.  If you use the 8 it will COMPLETELY fill the pan.  If you use the 9 inch it provides a couple more pieces, just not as tall. 😀
  • Bake for 10 minutes and then cool.
  • Whisk jello into hot water mixture until dissolved.
  • Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth.
  • Add in jello mixture until well blended.
  • Beat carnation milk with chilled beaters until very stiff.
  • Fold whipped milk into cheesecake mixture and pour into cooled crust pan.
  • Chill AT LEAST 8 hours, but this cheesecake is best made 24 hours in advance!
  • Top with whipped cream or pie cherries and enjoy!

NATCHITOCHES MEAT PIES aka CAJUN EMPANADAS

I found a recipe for Natchitoches Meat Pies, a savory dish that sounded really interesting.  I did a little research and found that Natchitoches Meat Pies are an official state food and that Natchitoches is a city in northern Louisiana.  I didn’t like that it was fried though and converted it to a baked version.  For lack of a better definition this is a Cajun empanada 😀

NATCHITOCHES MEAT PIES

FILLING
4 slices bacon, diced
3/4 pound ground beef
3/4 pound ground pork
2 tablespoons WONDRA flour
1 LARGE onion, FINELY chopped
1 LARGE bunch green onions, FINELY diced
1 cup red, yellow and orange mini peppers, FINELY chopped
2-3 tablespoons chopped FRESH flat leaf parsley
3 garlic cloves, minced
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 cup chicken broth

  • Brown ground beef and pork until cooked through. Drain.
  • In the same pan brown bacon over medium heat until crisp.
  • Remove bacon to drain on paper toweling.
  • Whisk in flour to bacon grease making a roux.
  • Whisk in chicken broth, seasonings, garlic, onions, parsley and peppers.
  • Add beef and pork in. Simmer 5-10 minutes to meld flavors.
  • Refrigerate the meat mixture for an hour while you are making the dough and before assembling pies.

PASTRY
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
8 tablespoons crisco
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup chicken broth

  • Whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder together in food processor.
  • Add shortening and pulse to a cornmeal texture.
  • Add eggs and broth JUST until dough comes together.
  • Transfer dough to a floured counter and knead 30 seconds until creates a smooth ball.
  • Divide dough into equal pieces, about 8-16 depending on how large you want your pies.
  • Roll out each piece to a thin circle.
  • Fill each about half full.
  • Fold over and crimp edges with fork tines to seal.
  • Place on a silicone lined baking sheet.
  • Bake at 425° for 30-45 minutes, turning baking dish as needed to avoid burning the edges.
    Serve with Salsa, sour cream, chopped olives and chopped green onions.

NOTE:

  • I sometimes make them “Mexican” by adding a Taco Bell original spice packet to the mix.
  • I also like to add a sprinkly of shredded cheese to the inside and garnish.

SKILLET CHOPS & OVEN BRAISED RAINBOW CARROTS

This recipe came out of a an old (1960’s) cookbook put together for a lake area homeowner’s association. I loved the sound of it, but canned pork and beans use mustard in their recipes and I’m deathly allergic so I had to adapt it and the flavor profile was GREAT.

SKILLET CHOPS
2 tablespoons butter
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
4 thick bone in pork chops
1/2 sweet onion, sliced thin
1 can great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup tomato sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons jalapeno ketchup

  • Melt butter in cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Saute onions 1-2 minutes
  • Generously season chops on both sides.
  • Add chops and quickly sear to a golden brown.
  • Whisk together the tomato sauce, brown sugar and jalapeno ketchup.
  • Fold beans into sauce.
  • Arrange beans around pork chops, cover and simmer on LOW 15-30 minutes until chops are cooked through.

OVEN BRAISED RAINBOW CARROTS
1 1/2 pounds rainbow carrots, cleaned and cut to like sizes
4 LARGE green onions, halved lengthwise
1 teaspoon orange zest
1/3 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons melted butter or avocado oil
1 medium shallot, FINELY chopped
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper to taste

  • Preheat oven to 425°.
  • Whisk together the butter or oil, orange juice, vinegar, orange zest, shallots, FRESH ground salt and pepper.
  • Toss carrots, and green onions with orange juice mixture.
  • Pour into a large flat baking dish, cover with foil and bake 15 minutes.
  • Remove foil and bake another 30 minutes.

CHEESY TACO PASTA

CHEESY TACO PASTA serves 6-8
1/2 pound large shells pasta
1 pound ground beef
1 package Taco Bell ORIGINAL seasoning packet
3/4 cup water
1 cup jarred salsa
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

  • Cook the shelled pasta according to the directions on the box and drain WELL.
  • Add the ground beef to the pan and brown well.
  • Drain the fat.
  • Add the taco seasoning and water, stirring and cooking until water is evaporated.
  • Add the pasta, salsa and cheese.
  • Stir to combine.
  • Garnish with chopped green onions, chopped olives and/or peppers.
  • Serve immediately, with crunchy tortilla chips or Fritos.   I also like to use taco shell bowls.

BUTTER BRAISED PORK ROAST ala SLOW COOKER

BUTTER BRAISED PORK ROAST ala SLOW COOKER
3-4 pound pork loin
1 bunch green onions, sliced
3 cloves Garlic, minced
4-5 FRESH sprigs of thyme leaves
1 cube KNORR cilantro
1 cube KNORR chipotle
1 cube KNORR garlic
1 tablespoon MONTANA MEX sweet seasoning blend
1 Pinch red pepper flakes
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1/2 cup butter, divided

  • Blot pork roast dry and generously season with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Heat oil in skillet over medium high heat.
  • Sear all sides of roast 1-2 minutes.
  • Place roast in slow cooker.
  • Wipe out skillet of excess oil.
  • Melt butter in skillet.
  • Whisk in seasonings and thyme leaves.
  • Add onions, sautéing a minute.
  • Add garlic and sauté another minute.
  • Pour over pork roast.
  • Cook on LOW 5 hours.
  • Move pork roast to a plate to rest and cover with foil.

GRAVY
stock from slow cooker
1 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon better than bouillon chicken stock
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon WONDRA flour

  • Melt butter in saucepan.
  • Whisk in cornstarch and flour.
  • Add chicken stock and whisk until smooth.
  • Add renderings from the slow cooker and whisk until smooth and thickened.
  • Adjust seasoning and serve over mashed potatoes with gravy.

BALSAMIC GLAZE for FRUIT

One of my favorite summer treats is juicy red ripe watermelon and sweet navel oranges drizzled with a thick and sweet balsamic glaze with a bit of Cotija cheese (Mexican Parmesan) sprinkled on top.  You can use ANY balsamic vinegar, but I like to use flavor infused (pear or coconut pineapple are my favorites) for a bit of extra flavor.

BALSAMIC GLAZE for fruit
1 3/4 cups QUALITY balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup sugar

  • In a small saucepan bring balsamic vinegar and apple cider vinegar to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, whisking often,  until reduced by half.
  • Whisk in sugar and bring back to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes, whisking often, until glaze coats the back of a spoon.
  • Cool before pouring into squeeze bottle or cruet. Will keep in refrigerator 2 months or so.

IMOGENE’S CHICKEN

This is one of those recipes that I made EXACTLY as written the FIRST time, but had to change. It was good the first time, but we knew it could be better!

IMOGENE’S CHICKEN
2 tablespoons butter
2-3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup Bragg’s liquid aminos
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons FRESH grated ginger
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Melt 2 tablespoons butter in cast iron casserole pan.
  • Arrange chicken thighs top side down in a single layer.
  • Whisk together the white wine, liquid aminos, vinegar, chicken broth, ginger, sugar and oregano and pour around chicken pieces.
  • Cover and bake 30 minutes.
  • Turn chicken and cook 15 minutes more.
  • Serve over rice, pasta or mashed potatoes.