CHILI STUFFED ZUCCHINI BOATS

CHILI STUFFED ZUCCHINI BOATS serves 6
6 medium zucchini or 3 LARGE, depending on type
2 tablespoons avocado oil
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1 3/4 pounds QUALITY ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 poblano chile pepper, seeded and chopped small
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons QUALITY tomato paste
1 cup tomato sauce
3/4 cup chicken stock
1 handful cilantro, chopped
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
Sour cream, for garnish
Green onions, chopped for garnish
Chopped Cilantro, for garnish

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Cover baking sheet with foil or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Wash zucchini and cut off ends.
  • Cut zucchini in half and remove seeds to hollow out centers.
  • Spread oil on zucchini and sprinkle with FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.
  • Place zucchini on baking sheet. Set aside while you prepare chili.

 

  • Heat oil in large cast iron skillet.
  • Add ground beef to brown. Drain off excess grease.
  • Add onions, chili powder, cumin, cayenne, garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste. Cook 4-5 minutes until onions soften.
  • Whisk together tomato paste, chicken stock and tomato sauce.
  • Add tomato mixture to meat, stirring to combine and cooking 8-10 minutes until VERY thick.
  • Stir in cilantro.
  • Fill zucchini boats with chili and sprinkle with cheese.
  • Cover with foil and bake 15-20 minutes.
  • Uncover and bake 10-15 minutes more until cheese is golden.
  • Top with sour cream, green onions and cilantro.

WEDNESDAY HODGEPODGE

Wednesday Hodgepodge is hosted over at From This Side of the Pond

1. Last time you moved house? Something you’ve learned in moving house? Last time we moved was a surreal and emotional move.  We had been rehabbing my grandparent’s house for my uncle (who eventually swindled us out of about $75,000 – but that’s another story).  It was a cross country move, so pretty expensive.  The thing I have learned the most is to ONLY move the most important things.  If it’s a cross country move there are a ton of things that are better donated and repurchased on the other end – things like toasters, coffee pots, patio furniture which is big, bulky and heavy, etc…

2. Move mountains, move along, make a wrong move, moved to tears, get a move on, move up, move over, move out of the way, move the deck chairs on the Titanic, move it!…pick one and tell us how it fits your recent circumstances. Tough topic in this COVID world we are living in since I feel like I’m not moving at all, except in circles while we wait for the world to calm itself down.  So of those choices, I guess I’ll move onMove on as in taking one day at a time and moving forward despite all that is going on around us.

3. What have you been doing to make yourself move (aka stay fit-active) during these strange times? When this all began I spent a ton of time outside – we literally had most of the summer projects done during the spring  which included new garden beds, flowers, pruning and pressure washing all the concrete surfaces.

4. This week’s calendar includes celebrations for the following foods- National Coffee Milkshake Day (Sunday), National Creme Brûlée Day (Monday), National Milk Chocolate Day (Tuesday), National Chicken Wing Day (Wednesday), National Lasagne Day (Wednesday), National Cheesecake Day (Thursday), and National Avocado Day (Friday)
Which one on the list would you be most inclined to celebrate? I would definitely celebrate Milk Chocolate Day, Chicken Wing Day, Lasagna Day, Cheesecake Day  and Avocado Day.

Which would you be most inclined to skip? I would skip Coffee Milkshake Day and Creme Brulee Day – not a fan of either one.

5. Next week’s Hodgepodge lands in August! I know!! Raise your hand if you feel like July flew by in the blink of an eye? Now bid farewell to your July acrostic style.

Bright and Cheery,
Yet dismal and dreary,
Every day starts a new
Just as it’s supposed to.
Until we again realize,
Life goes on and on
Yielding both sadness and happiness.

6.  Insert your own random thought here. I have to say that I truly have no random thoughts today. HA HA 😀

TUESDAY 4

IT’S TIME FOR TUESDAY 4 hosted at TUESDAY 4. This week’s questions seem a bit random, but I’ll try for answers that make some sense.

1. What kind of restaurants do you enjoy most and why? Do you have a favorite? This is a tough question these days amid the horrors of COVID19!  I LOVE a lot of different food and restaurants, but have been spending my money mainly on local mom and pop places to help them out. Hubby and I tended to go out to lunch more often than not before, whereas now we order it and then pick it up to eat at home. We do have a favorite old historic pub that makes tremendous sandwiches.

2. Do you have a favorite cartoon from film, news or comic book? Not really!

3. Do you belong to any clubs or societies or organizations? We’re military and hubby is a lifetime member of the VFW, American Legion, 82nd Airborne Association… I’ve been on the auxiliary of several and participated in the clubs at many levels like writing their newsletters, etc…  I was also a Girl Scout Leader for several years.

4. The internet is filled with ads. Are there any ads that you enjoy seeing or hate to see?  Honestly I HATE most ads – I find most of them insulting to our intelligence.  Now if they make them positive, add a golden retriever or a cute kid that makes me smile, I’ll watch.

HAPPY HOMEMAKER & MENU PLAN MONDAY week 31 of 2020

GOOD MORNING sweet friends.  I hope you all had a GREAT week and relaxing weekend. I’m getting settled back in from our trip. I know the world is still crazy and personally I’m trying to avoid it as much as possible due to my own health concerns, but it, the world and all its complications, has a way of finding us no matter what.  The situation with hubby’s sister is becoming more and more complex and sadly requires us to travel again next week.  Keep us in your prayers that this whole situation settles itself fairly quickly and calmly.

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 We’re having a serious hot spell here!  It’s fairly unusual to see triple digits, but they’re here!  Fortunately it’s only a day or 2 until it’s back into the 80’s.  So today is cutoffs, a t-shirt and probably barefoot all day except to go out to the garden and then it’s flip flops.

ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE hot water & baby food

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

MONDAY
  • TIMELINE & DOCUMENT RESEARCH
TUESDAY
  • PAPERWORK & LETTERS
WEDNESDAY
  • CLEANING & LAUNDRY
THURSDAY
  • OIL CHANGE
FRIDAY
  • LONG AWAITED HAIR APPOINTMENT
SATURDAY
  • PACKING
SUNDAY
  • TRAVEL DAY

WHAT’S ON THE DVR/TV There is not much on the TV or DVR! A couple of cooking shows, A Svengoolie and a race or two to watch.  We are also watching THE LAST KINGDOM on Netflix. We watched a couple RedBox movies over the weekend.

I’M READING I need to get back to reading regularly.  My intentions are good of an evening, but I seem to fall asleep before I get 2 pages in… I didn’t get much reading done as I thought I would while we ere traveling so I’m just starting The Book of Lost Friends and  Hurricane Season by Lauren Denton. I’ve also loaded my kindle with a couple more in hopes of some down time to more reading while we’re gone this time in hopes of more reading time.

FAVORITE PHOTO FROM THE CAMERA We went to feed the peacocks all the old stale snacks from our trip and were rewarded with a bunch of babies!  I had never seen peacock babies here before – they were so sweet! It’s also feather losing season – they were everywhere!

INSPIRATIONAL

LIFE TIP

HOMEMAKING/COOKING TIP

MENU PLANS FOR THE WEEK

MONDAY
TUESDAY
WEDNESDAY
THURSDAY
FRIDAY
SATURDAY
SUNDAY
DINNER
PULLED CHICKEN SANDWICHES & RED CABBAGE SLAW
TERIYAKI BEEF & VEGGIES with SALAD
CHICKEN with TARRAGON BREAD CRUMBS, POTATOES & PEAS
ORANGE BEEF with SUGAR SNAP PEAS & SALAD
GRILLED HOISIN PORK CHOPS with PINEAPPLE SALSA
BBQ PORK TENDERLOINS & SALAD
ON THE ROAD
DESSERT
 PEACH, CHERRY & BLACKBERRY FRUIT CRUMBLE

SUCCESSFUL RECIPE LINKS FROM LAST WEEK

FEATURED PARTY LINKS FOR THIS WEEK

RECIPES TO LOOK FOR THIS NEXT WEEK OR SO

  • CHILI STUFFED ZUCCHINI BOATS
  • BALSAMIC BEEF KEBABS
  • GRILLED PORK CHOPS & PLUMS
  • SPICY GREEN BEANS
  • PULLED CHICKEN SANDWICHES
  • MEATLOAF BURGERS

BROWN BAG APPLE PIE

There are a lot of recipes out there for Brown Bag Apple Pie, but I honestly haven’t found one that compares to grans. ALL of those others will tell you that their pie is the most incredible one! Once again I haven’t found one that compares with gran’s old recipe. I can agree that no matter what recipe you use, the paper bag is THE key ingredient! It truly makes for a crust that doesn’t burn, but is a lightly textured and deep golden flaky crust, sweet and delicately flavored center and a crunchy topping. Don’t forget the luscious vanilla ice cream on a nice warm piece of pie!

BROWN BAG APPLE PIE

CRUST
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons SUPERFINE sugar
6 tablespoons UNSALTED butter
2 ½ tablespoons COLD vodka or more as needed

  • Whisk the flour and white sugar together in a bowl until well-combined.
  • Cut the unsalted butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs; sprinkle with the vodka, a little at a time, mixing the dough together lightly with a fork until it barely holds together.
  • Form the dough into a ball and roll it out to a circle about 1/8-inch thick.
  • Gently ease the dough into pie dish, pressing to fit pie pan.
  • Cut off any excess pastry with a knife.
  • Finish the edge of the crust by gently pressing the tines of a fork into the dough all the way around the edge of the pie dish.
  • Set the crust aside.

FILLING
5 pounds Granny Smith apples – peeled, cored and sliced thinly
½ cup PACKED brown sugar
2 tablespoons WONDRA flour
2 teaspoons PURE ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 pinch QUALITY ground ginger
Juice from 1 LARGE lemon
2 tablespoons ginger snap crumbs

  • In a large mixing bowl toss the apples with the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and lemon juice.
  • Set aside.

CRUMB TOPPING
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup COLD butter
1/4 cup superfine sugar
1/4 cup PACKED brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons QUALITY cinnamon 



  • Combine the flour, sugars and cinnamon, whisking to combine.
  • Cut in butter pieces until you have a crumbly coarse mixture.


ASSEMBLY


  • Sprinkle the ginger snap crumbs over the bottom of the pie crust evenly.
  • Fill the pie with the apple mixture.
  • Sprinkle the crumb topping mixture evenly over the filling.
  • Preheat oven to 425°.
  • Place pie in a brown paper bag (grocery size) so that bag is folded over, but not actually touching the pie itself.

  • Bake for 1 hour. DO NOT PEEK while baking.
  • Remove from the oven, carefully remove paper bag from around pie and let cool; serve warm.
  • Store leftovers in refrigerator.


NOTE: ALTERNATE METHOD TO AN ACTUAL PAPER BAG

  • Tear off two 30 inch long pieces of parchment paper.
  • Place them perpendicular to each other on a work surface.
  • Place the filled pie in the center of the two pieces of parchment, bring the paper ends up over the pie and fold and staple the parchment paper over the pie to COMPLETELY enclose and seal in the pie inside.
  • The paper should not touch the top or sides of the pie.
  • Place on a baking sheet to catch any drips.

CREAMED CORN

CREAMED CORN
3-4 cups FRESH corn kernels
2+2 tablespoons butter
1 Vidalia onion or LARGE bunch green onions, chopped small
2-3 cloves garlic FINELY minced
1-2 red or orange mini peppers, chopped small
1 tablespoon FRESH chopped thyme
1/4-1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

  • Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat.
  • Add onions, sauteing until soft, 5-10 minutes.
  • Add garlic, sauteing 30 seconds or so until fragrant.
  • Add corn kernels and pepper pieces, stirring to combine.
  • Sprinkle generously with FRESH ground sea salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes.
  • Lower heat and cook 30-35 minutes or so until tender.
  • Stir in cream, 2 tablespoons butter, thyme and red pepper flakes.

CHEDDAR MUFFINS

These are moist, cheesy, flavorful and most importantly light and fluffy muffins that complement any chili, soup or stew!

CHEDDAR MUFFINS yields 18 regular sized muffins
3 strips bacon, chopped and cooked crisped
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 LARGE egg, room temperature
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup avocado oil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 small bunch green onions, halved and sliced
2 sweet mini red peppers, FINELY chopped
2 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes in oil, DRAINED well
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • In another bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk and oil. Add in minced garlic.
  • Add wet mixture to dry mixture JUST until moistened.
  • Fold in cheddar cheese, onions, peppers, tomatoes and bacon pieces.
  • Fill greased or papered muffin cups 3/4 full.
  • Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  • Bake 15-18 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.
  • Cool 5 minutes before removing from muffin tins.
  • Serve warm with FRESH butter.

GRILLED CHICKEN with PEACHES & GREEN TOMATOES

GRILLED CHICKEN with PEACHES & GREEN TOMATOES
1/2 cup Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon minced FRESH ginger
4-6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
2 tablespoons avocado oil
2-3 green tomatoes, cut into wedges
2-3 FRESH peaches, cut into wedges
1/2 red onion, sliced thin
2 tablespoons FRESH chopped flat leaf parsley
Juice of 1 LARGE lemon
1 tablespoon QUALITY honey
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper

  • Combine liquid aminos, brown sugar, ginger and garlic in a large Ziploc bag.
  • Add chicken, seal bag and turn to coat chicken.
  • Refrigerate AT LEAST 2 hours. All day or overnight is best. Turn bag frequently.

 

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • In a LARGE cast iron skillet heat 1/2 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat.
  • Add tomatoes and peaches to cook, turning once, until lightly browned.
  • Transfer to a serving bowl.
  • Whisk together the lemon juice, salt, honey and 1 tablespoon of avocado oil.
  • Fold in parsley.
  • Pour over tomatoes and peaches, gently turning to coat.
  • Add last 1/2 tablespoon of oil to skillet over medium heat.
  • Drain chicken of marinade.
  • Add to skillet skin side down, cooking 2-3 minutes until browned.
  • Turn chicken and transfer to oven for 20-25 minutes until cooked through.
  • Plate chicken and top with peach tomato mixture.

NOTE:  Grilling the chicken works well too.

HAPPY HOMEMAKER & MENU PLAN MONDAY week 30 of 2020

GOOD MORNING friends!  I hope this truly finds everyone well and happy.  I promise to make the rounds this week as we’re almost home and things will begin to get back to normal!

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 We’re still traveling, but will be home later today.  Not sure what the weather is at home, but it’s pleasant here in the high 70’s.  I’m wearing Levi’s and lightweight blouse and my favorite Skecher’s sandals.

ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE Not sure yet, but it will be light.

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

MONDAY
  • RETURN FROM TRIP
TUESDAY
  • GROCERIES & LAUNDRY
WEDNESDAY
  • LAUNDRY & CLEANING
THURSDAY
  • PAPERWORK & CALLS
FRIDAY
  • ORGANIZE
SATURDAY
  • ??
SUNDAY
  • ??

WHAT’S ON THE DVR/TV Whatever is on the DVR.  We also started The Last Kingdom while we were at our friend’s house and will finish that series.  We also saw Mr. Right, MY SPY with Dave Bautista and The Old Guard.

I’M READING I didn’t get much reading done as I thought I would while we ere traveling so I’m just starting The Book of Lost Friends and  Hurricane Season by Lauren Denton. I’ve also loaded my kindle with a couple more in hopes of some down time to more reading while we’re gone.

FAVORITE PHOTO FROM THE CAMERA I still have a TON of photos to sort through and edit, but here are a few of my favorites from this week.  ALL of our “sight seeing” was done responsibly in the wild and away from people.  We actually interacted with very few people choosing activities in nature or self guided.  The first photo is from the historic OLD Idaho Penitentiary, a self guided tour.  The next was from an area in Lowman, Idaho where the 1989 Firestorm ravished the landscape.   And the last picture is a neat old homestead barn.

ON MY MIND We’re still dealing with the situation with hubby’s sister and his father passing. We continue to pray things work themselves out, but are also quite realistic that there will need to be some intervening to make it happen.

This trip has also helped us make some determinations about our future project. And while it was a strange time to travel doing so during the pandemic has given us an idea of how people are dealing with it in other places.  All in all most people have been respectful and masked up, but those that haven’t have been quite odd and we steered a wide berth around them.  One of the oddest was a young mother of 4 very young children who had obviously just been through cancer and not one of the 6 people in the family was masking or social distancing.  The other odd one was a man wearing a t-shirt about supporting nurses, but was also not social distancing from others nor wearing a mask.  Masks were mandatory everywhere we were, but not many businesses were enforcing them.  We chose to support the businesses that were for our safety as well as their employees.

INSPIRATIONAL

LIFE TIP

HOMEMAKING/COOKING TIP

MENU PLANS FOR THE WEEK

MONDAY
TUESDAY
WEDNESDAY
THURSDAY
FRIDAY
SATURDAY
SUNDAY
DINNER
??
MEATLOAF BURGERS & POTATO SALAD
GRILLED PORK CHOPS & PLUMS with SALAD
GRILLED TERIYAKI CHICKEN with PINEAPPLE & SALAD
GRILLED BALSAMIC BEEF KEBABS, RICE PILAF & SALAD
PAN SEARED PAPRIKA SALMON & SPICY GREEN BEANS with SALAD
GRILLED HOISIN PORK CHOPS with PINEAPPLE SALSA & SALAD
DESSERT
BROWN BAG APPLE PIE

SUCCESSFUL RECIPE LINKS FROM LAST WEEK

FEATURED PARTY LINKS FOR THIS WEEK

RECIPES TO LOOK FOR THIS NEXT WEEK OR SO

  • GRILLED CHICKEN with PEACHES & TOMATOES
  • CHEDDAR MUFFINS
  • CREAMED CORN
  • CHILI STUFFED ZUCCHINI BOATS

FARMHOUSE CHOPPED SALAD

FARMHOUSE CHOPPED SALAD serves 6

12 ounces bacon, chopped

  • Cook bacon over medium heat until crispy.
  • Drain on paper toweling.

DRESSING
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup FRESH parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons FRESH chives, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper

  • Whisk the mayonnaise, sour cream and buttermilk together until smooth.
  • Fold in the parsley, chives, garlic, FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper.

1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 bunch green onions, THINLY sliced
1 cup carrot matchsticks
2 cups shredded sharp white or yellow cheddar cheese
2-3 cups grilled or rotisserie chicken pieces (see note)

  • In a large bowl toss together the lettuce, green onions, carrots, tomatoes, 3/4 of the bacon pieces, chicken pieces and 1 1/2 cups of the cheese.
  • Add dressing, tossing to coat.
  • Garnish with remaining cheese and bacon.

NOTE:

  • I like to make this salad the same day I go to Costco.  I pick up a rotisserie chicken from their deli and it’s the perfect time to pick the chicken from the bone, make a salad and make FRESH chicken stock from the carcass.
  • I sometimes add chopped avocado or even radishes.

UPDATED CHICKEN CACCIATORE

This recipe is one that is so versatile that it can feel like you are eating separate dishes on the same night.  Hubby doesn’t do cooked mushrooms.  I don’t do capers or olives. So, I make the red part of the sauce and then split it in half and prepare each half with the items we like individually. 😀

UPDATED CHICKEN CACCIATORE
6 BONELESS, SKINLESS chicken chicken steaks
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1/3 cup WONDRA all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 pound sliced cremini mushrooms (optional)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, THINLY sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon FRESH and FINELY chopped oregano
1 teaspoon FRESH and FINELY chopped rosemary or thyme
One 28-ounce CRUSHED whole tomatoes
1/3 cup chopped black olives
2 tablespoons drained capers, chopped
1/4 cup torn FRESH basil leaves

  • Sprinkle the chicken thighs with salt and pepper, then toss them in a bowl with the flour to lightly coat.
  • Heat the oil and butter in a large, wide pot over medium-high heat until shimmering.
  • Add the chicken and cook, turning once, until golden brown on both sides, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove the chicken to a plate.
  • Add the onion and mushrooms to the pot and cook, stirring, until the onion is softened and the mushrooms are lightly golden, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and peppers, stirring, until the peppers are just starting to soften, about 1 minute.
  • Add the wine and bring to a boil, then cook, scraping up any brown bits, until reduced by about half.
  • Add the oregano and rosemary or thyme.
  • Add the tomatoes and their juice and bring to a simmer.
  • Add the olives and capers.
  • Return the chicken to the pot, nestling in the sauce.
  • Reduce the heat to keep the sauce at a gentle simmer and cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 5-10 minutes.
  • Sprinkle with the basil.
  • Serve immediately.

SHEET PAN RANCH PORK CHOPS

SHEET PAN RANCH PORK CHOPS
5 tablespoons Avocado Oil
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 ounce Ranch dressing dry mix packet
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1 LARGE red onion, cut into wedges
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
2 small sweet peppers (orange and yellow), seeded and cut into strips
4 THICK boneless pork chops
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 cup FRESH, FINELY chopped Parsley

  • Preheat oven to 475°.
  • In a large bowl whisk together Avocado oil, Worcestershire sauce, ranch dressing mix, salt and pepper until well blended.
  • Reserve 3 tablespoons in a small bowl.
  • Add the onions and peppers to the marinade and toss until well coated.
  • Remove the onions and peppers with a slotted spoon and layer evenly on your sheet pan.
  • Bake 15-20 minutes until beginning to soften.
  • Add reserve marinade to bowl.
  • Add pork chops and toss to coat.
  • Sprinkle pork chops with paprika.
  • Add pork chops to sheet pan and bake 7-8 minutes until cooked through and no longer pink.
  • Sprinkle with Parsley and serve immediately.