ANTIPASTO SALAD with CREAMY ITALIAN VINAIGRETTE

Another PERFECT salad for a warm summer’s eve. The assortment of the chilled cheeses, meats and quick pickled veggies is quite satisfying especially after you add the vinaigrette for a tangy bite.

ANTIPASTO SALAD with CREAMY ITALIAN VINAIGRETTE

SALAD
2/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon FRESH oregano
1 red onion, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick
8 ounces marinated artichokes, WELL drained and chopped
1/2 cup sliced pepperoni
2 tablespoons avocado oil
2 romaine hearts, chopped or shredded
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
3 thick slices provolone cheese, cut into matchsticks
3 thick slices hard salami, cut into matchsticks
FRESH basil, cut into chiffonades
olives, optional

  • Bring artichokes with their juice, vinegar, garlic, salt and oregano to a SLOW boil in a medium saucepan.
  • Add onions, reduce heat and simmer 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and pepperoni slices.
  • Transfer to a bowl and chill until cool.
  • Drain marinated veggies in a mesh strainer, but save to store any extra veggies in.
  • Toss drained veggies with torn lettuce, tomatoes, pepperoni, cheese and salami pieces.
  • Add olives if using.
  • Drizzle with dressing
  • Enjoy.

VINAIGRETTE
12 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
2 tablespoons avocado oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon FRESH finely chopped oregano
1 tablespoon FRESH finely chopped Italian parsley
PINCH sugar
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon grated Romano cheese

  • Whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, oil, garlic and sugar.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper
  • Fold in parsley, oregano and cheese.
  • Chill.

TACO SALAD

One of the things we love in the summer is salads. I’m always looking for new recipes, but often I end up with 3 or 4 similar recipes. I always seem to combine the best parts of each recipe together to make a new and improved recipe. 😀

TACO SALAD serves 4
MEAT
1 pound ground chuck
1 small Vidalia onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
8 ounce can tomato sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon PACKED brown sugar

  • Heat oil in a large skillet until shimmering.
  • Add onion and cook until softened.
  • Stir in chili powder and garlic, cooking until fragrant.
  • Add beef, cooking and breaking it apart until ALMOST cooked through.
  • Add tomato sauce, broth, vinegar and brown sugar, simmering until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
  • Season to taste.

TACO SHELL BOWLS
4 – 10 inch flour tortillas
Non stick cooking spray

  • Preheat oven to 425°.
  • Adjust oven racks to middle.
  • Place 4 oven safe soup bowls or balls of aluminum foil on a baking sheet.
  • Heat tortillas in microwave a few seconds to make them warm and pliable.
  • Generously spray both sides of tortillas with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Drape tortillas over bowls or balls of foil.
  • Press bottoms flat and loosely pinch sides into pleats to form bowls.
  • Bake until tortillas are crispy and golden, about 10-15 minutes.
  • COOL COMPLETELY before turning over or filling.

SALAD
2 romaine hearts, shredded
1/3 cup bean dip
1/2 cup black beans
1 can white shoe peg corn, drained well
2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
1 small bunch green onions, thinly sliced
2 limes, juiced
3/4 cup shredded Jack and Cheddar cheeses
1/4 cup chopped cilantro + a bit more for garnish
1 lime, cut into wedges.

  • Toss together the lettuce, tomatoes, black beans, corn, green onions and cilantro.
  • Generously season salt and pepper.
  • Drizzle with lime juice and toss again.

ASSEMBLY

  • Place tortilla bowls on plates.
  • Divide salad amongst tortilla bowls.
  • Top with a spoonful of bean dip.
  • Top with a spoonful of meat mixture.
  • Sprinkle with cheese.
  • Garnish with lime wedges and remaining cilantro.

MONTE CRISTO SANDWICHES with RASPBERRY JAM

I have been thinking about our trip to Disneyland that is on the horizon. We even made lunch reservations for the Blue Bayou restaurant where I already know I will be ordering their Monte Cristo sandwich.  I first ate this sandwich at this restaurant as a child and I have often wondered what the origin of the Monte Cristo sandwich actually is? So, I finally did a little research on it.

In the early 1900’s many chefs and culinary experts believed that the Monte Cristo Sandwich was a variation of the French Croque Monsieur that was served in Parisian cafes, a grilled cheese sandwich consisting of Gruyere cheese and lean ham layered between two slices of crust-less bread, fried in clarified butter and made in a special grilling iron with two metal plates.

Then from the 1930s to the 1960s… American cookbooks showcased this sandwich under a myriad of different names including the French Sandwich, Toasted Ham Sandwich and French Toasted Cheese Sandwich, all sounding quite delicious, but lacking that truly unique sandwich identity.

Then in the 1950s the sandwich was first served under the name “The Monte Cristo” in southern California. But the BIG push came in 1966 when Disneyland made its own contributions to the popular Monte Cristo Sandwich when it first appeared on their menus at the Blue Bayou and Tahitian Terrace restaurants in New Orleans’s Square in Disneyland. It was also around this time that the Pirates of the Caribbean ride was being built was opened in 1967 as a ride that slinks along the river next to the Blue Bayou restaurant.

Ironically these are my 2 favorite Disney restaurants ever. Unfortunately the Tahitian Terrace with its LUAU inspired Polynesian menu and the Royal Tahitian Dance Troupe floor show did not stand the test of time, but the Blue Bayou still stands today. Ever since then, the Monte Cristo Sandwich has made huge advances in the culinary world becoming one of the most delicious sandwiches of our time and finding its place on menus all over the world.  I believe the Tahitian Terrace was sponsored by Kikkoman.

For me, it needs to be served with homemade RASPBERRY jam to be the correct version. Many restaurants try to pass off strawberry freezer jam and omit the powdered sugar, but it just isn’t the same! Here is my version of the classic sandwich – it still makes my mouth water today at the thought of the perfect Monte Cristo sandwich!

MONTE CRISTO SANDWICH
2-3 tablespoons butter
powdered sugar
for each sandwich you will need:
2 slices thick Potato bread
1 slice QUALITY roasted turkey
1 slice Swiss cheese (preferably Gruyere)
1 slice QUALITY smoked or baked ham
BATTER (enough for 2 sandwiches)
1/2 cup milk
1 JUMBO egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup self rising flour

  • Assemble sandwiches with the cheese between the 2 pieces of meat.
  • Cut into halves or quarters.
  • Whisk together the milk and egg. Add the seasonings. Add the flour last.
  • Melt butter on griddle.
  • Dip each sandwich piece in batter coating well.
  • Fry each sandwich until crisp. Make sure to turn onto each side and edge to grill batter well.
  • Cool on paper towels.
  • Dust with powdered sugar.
  • Serve with fresh raspberry jam.
Half the battle of making this sandwich is finding a good quality and tasty turkey and ham. The other half is actually using your fingers to dip the sandwich pieces in the batter.
RASPBERRY JAM

8 cups raspberries
6 cups sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon orange peel
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 package unflavored gelatin

  • Combine fruit, sugar, lemon juice, nutmeg, cinnamon and orange peel in a stock pot.
  • Bring to a full rolling boil – stirring constantly. Let boil 1 full minute.
  • Remove from heat and stir in gelatin.
  • Skim any foam.
  • Pour into sterilized jars.
  • Water bath process 15 minutes.

HAPPY HOMEMAKER & MENU PLAN MONDAY week 30 of 2018

GOOD MORNING friends! Are you ready to dive into the last week of July? Personally I HATE summer and LOVE fall so this is the time of the year I start hoping time actually moves faster so I can get to the cooler sweater weather of FALL.

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.

OUTSIDE MY WINDOW & THE WEATHER OUTSIDE & WHAT I’M WEARING – We are under an EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING still this week so I’m going to be laying low after getting an early start to the pool and gym.  I have on my blue yoga pants and matching affirmation t-shirt. Our highs are supposed to top the 120s and our lows bottom out around 91! BUT, the humidity is dropping back dow into the teens so at least the pool will feel a little better.

We are already in triple digits before 7 am and are supposed to hit 118 today. They have been cherry picking the palm trees here to clean them up.  Unfortunately, I’m allergic to them so all this activity is leaving me a bit sniffly. Good news is that the rest of the season will be better after this week.

ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE – Green tea, a banana and a peach yogurt

ON MY MIND / THINGS THAT ARE MAKING ME HAPPY

  • As of July 17th, it’s official that my abusive, toxic, no account uncle is FINALLY out of our lives forever.  He has made our life a COMPLETE nightmare for OVER 3 years taking complete advantage of us, swindling us, jeopardizing my health and downright being abusive, but he is officially a part of our past now. NOW we are moving on knowing we did the right thing for the right reasons, just for the wrong person.
  • I am getting a bit stronger every day though the process is taking longer than I care to admit. I pulled a muscle pretty bad overdoing it at the gym last Thursday and woke up in serious pain Friday so took a few days off from the gym and concentrated on the pool instead.  The pool has felt like a bathtub though because of the extreme heat here.
  • We are planning a couple of little side trips over the next couple months, Disneyland and the San Diego Zoo to make us happy.  Since we have not had a REAL vacation in years because of my health and the HOUSE FROM HELL nightmare, we are REALLY looking forward to them. What is your favorite zoo exhibit and/or Disney ride?  Personally, I’m looking forward to the giraffes and the Pirates of the Caribbean with lunch at the Blue Bayou for their Monte Cristo sandwich YUMMY! I’m not quite sure where the name Monte Cristo sandwich originally came from.  Seems like it was originally called a “French sandwich”, the “Monte Cristo” appears to have been renamed by Disney in the 1950’s as a nod to the French adventure novel and film The Count of Monte Cristo. The Monte Cristo hit the big time in 1966, when it was featured on the menu at the Disneyland’s Blue Bayou restaurant. We’re also researching some of the Gaslamp district and Sea port Village places in San Diego to have a drink and an appetizer. So far on the list is Buster’s Beach House and The Prohibition Lounge.

FAVORITE PHOTOS FROM THE CAMERA – I finally finished editing the pictures from my SIL’s house and the trip down here. The first one was cask makers in Santa Barbara and the last one is my niece’s dog, Peanut with her ball waiting for one of us to play with her. The middle picture is an encore because I just love this picture of my very favorite tree, the Moreton Bay Fig Tree originally planted in 1876.  Here’s the link if you’d like to read the history.

INSPIRATION –  It was tough to decide on this category this week with everything going on regarding the house, family betrayal, the loss of that family and being swindled out of money, time and health by someone you trusted your whole life so I’m going with two inspirations.

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

  • LAUNDRY… just a couple loads of clothing and towels
  • LIVING AREAS…needs a light sweeping and dusting
  • KITCHEN… nice and tidy
  • YARD… a few replacement plants for a couple pots
  • BLOG… some recipe updating, future post planning and holiday post planning
  • APPOINTMENTS… dentist, glasses
  • PROJECTS… surprise for my niece
  • TO DO… gym, pool, errands, groceries

CURRENTLY READING

I’m in book 2 of the Summer Lake Romance Series by SJ McCoy

WHAT IS ON THE DVR OR LIST TO WATCH – The Great American Food Truck Race starts this week and I’m enjoying Reverie for the summer along with America’s Got Talent, Salvation and MasterChef. We also started a couple of Netflix series to binge watch. Colony and Shooter.

WHAT’S IN THE CRAFT BASKET – I just found out my niece is pregnant with her first child so I’m planning a sweet little quilt.

HEALTH & BEAUTY TIPS

HOMEMAKING/COOKING TIP

MENU PLANS FOR THE WEEK

BREAKFAST

SNACK

LUNCH

DINNER

SNACK/DESSERT

MONDAY

GREEN TEA & YOGURT

PROTEIN DRINK

CHICKEN or TUNA SALAD

PAN SEARED SWORDFISH with LEMON SAUCE

PROTEIN SHAKE

TUESDAY

GREEN TEA & YOGURT

PROTEIN DRINK

CHICKEN or TUNA SALAD

STUFFED CHICKEN ALFREDO SHELLS

PROTEIN SHAKE

WEDNESDAY

GREEN TEA & YOGURT

PROTEIN DRINK

CHICKEN or TUNA SALAD

C.O.R.N. clean out refrigerator night

PROTEIN SHAKE

THURSDAY

GREEN TEA & YOGURT

PROTEIN DRINK

CHICKEN or TUNA SALAD

CHEESY CHICKEN PANCAKES

PROTEIN SHAKE

FRIDAY

GREEN TEA & YOGURT

PROTEIN DRINK

CHICKEN or TUNA SALAD

 CHICKEN PARMESAN MEATBALLS

PROTEIN SHAKE

SATURDAY

??

PROTEIN DRINK

CHICKEN or TUNA SALAD

PINEAPPLE CASHEW CHICKEN

SUNDAY

??

PROTEIN DRINK

CHICKEN or TUNA SALAD

CARNE ASADA on the grill with SALAD

PROTEIN SHAKE

SUCCESSFUL RECIPE LINKS FROM LAST WEEK

STUFFED CHICKEN ALFREDO SHELLS

STUFFED CHICKEN ALFREDO SHELLS
20 whole Jumbo Pasta Shells, Cooked And Drained
2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts or 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
FRESH ground salt And pepper, to taste
Avocado Oil
3/4 cups ricotta cheese (whole milk, NOT low-fat))
3/4 cups SMALL CURD cottage cheese (whole milk, NOT low-fat)
3/4+ 1/4 cups grated Mozzarella cheese
2+ 1/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese
2 whole LARGE eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup minced FRESH parsley
2 tablespoons minced FRESH basil
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 cloves garlic, minced

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Season the chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper.
  • Heat a grill pan or iron skillet over medium heat, drizzle with avocado oil.
  • Cook the chicken on both sides until cooked through.
  • Remove and shred with two forks and allow to cool.
  • In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, cottage cheese, mozzarella, 1 cup of the Parmesan cheese, eggs, 2 tablespoons of the fresh parsley, salt, pepper, and chicken, stirring to combine. Add heavy cream as necessary 1 tablespoon at a time. Set aside.
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter and sprinkle with the flour. Whisk and cook until the roux turns golden brown.
  • Pour in the milk and cream, whisking constantly, and cooking for a few minutes, until thickened.
  • Add the garlic, the additional 1 cup Parmesan, salt, pepper, 1 tablespoon minced parsley, and minced basil and stirring until well blended.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Set aside.
  • Add 1 cup sauce to the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.
  • Using a spoon, fill each of the jumbo shells generously with the chicken/ricotta mixture.
  • Lay them face down in the pan, then pour the sauce all over the top.
  • Sprinkle with 1/4 cup mozzarella and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheeses.
  • Bake for 25 minutes, or until bubbly and the cheese is golden.

PAN SEARED SWORDFISH with LEMON SAUCE

PAN SEARED SWORDFISH with LEMON SAUCE
4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons FRESH chopped fresh parsley
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground mixed peppercorns, plus more for garnish
1/2 teaspoon (packed) grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 1-inch-thick swordfish fillets (about 6 ounces each)

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Mash butter, parsley, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon ground mixed peppercorns, and lemon zest in small bowl.
  • Season to taste with salt.
  • Heat butter in heavy large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Sprinkle swordfish with salt and ground mixed peppercorns.
  • Add swordfish to skillet, cooking until browned, about 3 minutes.
  • Turn swordfish over and transfer to oven.
  • Roast until just cooked through, about 10 minutes longer.
  • Transfer swordfish to plates.
  • Top with Lemon Sauce

LEMON SAUCE
1/3 cup butter
2 green onions, finely minced
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
a pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 cup FRESH squeezed lemon juice
Zest of one lemon
1/4 cup hot water
a couple drops Tabasco

  • In a small saucepan, melt the butter.
  • Add green onions and sauce a few minutes.
  • Whisk in the paprika, sugar, salt, pepper and cayenne.
  • When well blended add lemon juice, hot water and Tabasco.
  • Add lemon zest just before serving.

LINKING TO: CELEBRATE YOUR STORY, CRAFTASTIC MONDAY, DISHING IT & DIGGING IT, NIFTY THRIFTY SUNDAY, SHOW & TELL, SUNDAYS AT HOME, SUNDAY’S BEST, THAT DIY PARTY, JCOOKING & CRAFTING WITH J&J, INPIRATION MONDAY , INSPIRE ME MONDAY , MADE BY YOU MONDAY, MAKE IT PRETTY MONDAY, MELT IN YOUR MOUTH MONDAY, MERRY MONDAY, MIX IT UP MONDAY, MOTIVATE ME MONDAY, PROJECT INSPIRED, SHOW AND SHARE, TUTORIALS & TIP , DIY TUESDAYS, LOU LOU GIRLS FABULOUS PARTY, THE SCOOP, TREASURE BOX TUESDAY, TUESDAYS AT OUR HOME, TUESDAYS WITH A TWIST, CREATIVE INSPIRATIONS, SHARE YOUR CUP , WINTER BLUES WEDNESDAY, WONDERFUL WEDNESDAY, SHOW ME WEDNESDAYS, WOW US WEDNESDAY , CREATIVE CIRCLE, DAGMAR’S PARTY, HOME SWEET HOME, FAVORITE THINGS, GRACE AT HOME, HOME MATTERS, PIN JUNKIE PIN PARTY, TALK OF THE TOWN, BLOGGER’S PIT STOP, HANDMADE HANGOUT, PRETTY PINTASTIC PARTY, SHARE IT ONE MORE TIME, SWAY SHAREFEST, WHAT TO DO WEEKENDS PARTY, BOUQUET OF TALENT PARTY, INSPIRE-BE-INSPIRED, RAE GUN BLOCK PARTY, I’M LOVIN’ IT, THIS IS HOW WE ROLL THURSDAY, FULL PLATE THURSDAY, FOODIE FRIDAY

SALISBURY STEAK MEATBALLS

Who doesn’t love a classic salisbury steak? We have all eaten it at some point growing up. Salisbury steak was mom’s way of keeping it homestyle while stretching the budget too. Now I have a recipe that still does that, but works as an appetizer or a pot luck dish and utilizes the slow cooker so you don’t heat up the kitchen. 😀

SALISBURY STEAK MEATBALLS – 24 meatballs
1 medium Vidalia onion, halved and sliced thin
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced thin

  • Place the onion slices, minced garlic and mushrooms in the bottom of the slow cooker.

MEATBALLS
2 pounds lean ground beef
1 cup PLAIN breadcrumbs
1/2 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon parsley
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon each FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper

  • In a large mixing bowl thoroughly combine the ground beef, Worcestershire sauce, milk, parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.
  • Form 24 meatballs of equal size.
  • Gently arrange meatballs in slow cooker on top of the onions and mushrooms. (About 2 layers)

GRAVY
2 cups beef broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon each FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons water

  • Whisk together the beef broth, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper.
  • Pour over the meatballs evenly.
  • Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours until meatballs are cooked though and still tender.
  • Use a slotted spoon to transfer the meatballs, onions and mushrooms to a serving platter.
  • In a small bowl whisk the cornstarch and water together until smooth to form a slurry.
  • Whisk the slurry into the crock pot until well blended.
  • Add the meatballs, onions and mushrooms back into the slow cooker.
  • Adjust the seasoning to taste, cover and cook on low another 30 minutes.
  • Serve over noodles or mashed potatoes.

CHEESY CHICKEN PANCAKES

CHEESY CHICKEN PANCAKES makes 16-18
PANCAKES

1 1/2 pounds breast tenders, diced small
2 large eggs
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup all-purpose flour, cornstarch or potato starch
1 1/3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh dill or thyme (your flavor choice)
1/2 teaspoon FRESH ground sea salt, to taste
1/8 teaspoon FRESH black pepper
2 tablespoons Avocado oil

  • Whisk together the eggs, mayonnaise, salt, pepper and dill.
  • Add flour, stirring until smooth.
  • Fold in cheese and then chicken pieces, stirring until well blended.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight is better.
  • Heat a large non-stick pan over medium heat with avocado oil.
  • When oil is hot, add the chicken mixture a heaping Tablespoon at a time. Slightly flatten out the tops and sauté uncovered 3-4 minutes on the first side, then flip and saute 3 more minutes on the flip side or until golden brown and chicken is fully cooked through.  Repeat with remaining fritters adding more oil as needed. DO NOT CROWD THE PAN.

DIP
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon FRESH ground salt
1/8 teaspoon FRESH black pepper

  • Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, stirring together until smooth.

NOTES:

  • To test for doneness, cut a pancake in half and the chicken should be completely white inside.
  • Partially frozen chicken breasts are easier to dice.
  • Sometimes I cook the tenders in advance and shred them so the pancakes take less time to actually cook.
  • Changing the cheese flavor makes a nice change.  Using pepper jack for the cheese and a splash of Frank’s hot sauce in the dip spices it up a bit.

HAPPY HOMEMAKER & MENU PLAN MONDAY week 29 of 2018

GOOD MORNING sweet ladies. I hope you had a GREAT week and are looking forward to an even better one this week.

We’ve been away a few days visiting family and friends on a whirlwind trip, but are back today and looking forward to getting back into routine until we visit with friends next month for our anniversary.

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.

OUTSIDE MY WINDOW & THE WEATHER OUTSIDE & WHAT I’M WEARING – It’s sunny and pretty.  We’re supposed to hit triple digits ALL week with nighttime temperatures in the low 80’s with humidity hovering around 30% so pool time will be earlier in the day so it’s not like a bathtub! 😀

ON THE BREAKFAST PLATE – Green tea and honey nut cheerios.  I pushed the envelope experimenting with food this weekend while we were away, so will be staying closer to my routine diet this week to equalize everything

ON MY MIND / THINGS THAT ARE MAKING ME HAPPY

  • Met with a friend this past weekend who is going to help facilitate moving forward with the failed mesh issues that caused my recent health issues and I’m looking forward to getting a few things off my plate of stress really soon.
  • We started our serious research for our next project last week and have maps and notes everywhere.  For every place we like someone suggests yet another to look at.

FAVORITE PHOTO FROM THE CAMERA – It’s pool time! 😀

INSPIRATION

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

  • LAUNDRY… just a couple loads of clothing from our trip
  • LIVING AREAS...neat and tidy
  • YARD… nothing much
  • BLOG… some recipe updating, future post planning and even some holiday post planning

CURRENTLY READING AND ON MY WAIT PILE

WHAT IS ON THE DVR OR LIST TO WATCH

Just a few Christmas movies and cooking shows

HEALTH & BEAUTY TIPS

HOMEMAKING/COOKING TIP

MENU PLANS FOR THE WEEK

BREAKFAST

SNACK

LUNCH

DINNER

SNACK/DESSERT

MONDAY

SMALL BANANA & GREEN TEA

PROTEIN DRINK

TUNA or CHICKEN

 DEPRESSION BURGERS

PROTEIN SHAKE

TUESDAY

PEACH YOGURT & GREEN TEA

PROTEIN DRINK

 TUNA or CHICKEN

GRILLED CHICKEN & SALAD

PROTEIN SHAKE

WEDNESDAY

SMALL BANANA & GREEN TEA

PROTEIN DRINK

TUNA or CHICKEN

C.O.R.N. clean out refrigerator night

PROTEIN SHAKE

THURSDAY

CHERRY YOGURT & GREEN TEA

PROTEIN DRINK

TUNA or CHICKEN

CADILLACS & COLE SLAW

PROTEIN SHAKE

FRIDAY

BERRY YOGURT & GREEN TEA

PROTEIN DRINK

TUNA or CHICKEN

 GRILLED HALIBUT & SALAD

PROTEIN SHAKE

SATURDAY

QUICHE LORRAINE

PROTEIN DRINK

TUNA or CHICKEN

C.O.R.N. clean out refrigerator night

LEMON BLUEBERRY TURNOVERS

SUNDAY

OVERNIGHT FRENCH TOAST

PROTEIN DRINK

TUNA or CHICKEN

 MONTE CRISTOS

PROTEIN SHAKE

SUCCESSFUL RECIPE LINKS FROM LAST WEEK

DEPRESSION BURGERS aka OKLAHOMA FRIED ONION BURGERS

DURING the depression in El Reno, a small Oklahoma town along the Mother Road aka Route 66 at Hwy 81 when hamburger meat was really expensive Ross Davis, an inventive diner owner found a way to ration the meat with the inclusion of flavorful and cheap onions that stretched the meat and built the flavor too, hence why it was called the depression burger.

The recipe has been passed down through the generations and are still made the same way today. Several other diners followed suit and a burger star was born. The burger became a national treasure and is the ugly kissing cousin to the prettier version of how burgers are served today with the grilled onions on top.

I’ve added cheese and changed the onions to shallots which give it a bit of an extra bite. By adding the cheese we have onions between the meat and cheese as well as on top of the cheese.  The key to the flavor in my opinion is ALMOST burning the onions 😀

DEPRESSION BURGERS aka OKLAHOMA FRIED ONION BURGERS
Adapted from Cook’s Country

3 shallots, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
salt and pepper
1 pound ground beef
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon avocado oil
4-8 slices cheddar cheese
Mayonnaise
Ketchup and Mustard
Pickles
4 hamburger buns, toasted

  • Combine the onion slices and 1 teaspoon of salt in a large bowl, tossing to combine.
  • Transfer the onions to a colander and let sit for 30 minutes, tossing occasionally.
  • Transfer the onions to a clean dish towel, gather the edges together and squeeze out as much liquid as you can from the onions. Be sure to do this over the sink since the onions will have quite a bit of liquid in them.
  • Divide the onions into 4 separate mounds on a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Form the beef into 4 lightly packed balls.
  • Place the beef balls on top of the onion mounds and flatten the beef firmly using your palm so the onion adheres to the beef. The patties should measure 4 inches in diameter.
  • Season the beef generously with salt and pepper.
  • Melt the butter with the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat.
  • Using a large spatula, transfer the patties to the skillet, onion side down. Cook for 6-8 minutes, until the onions turn a deep golden brown and begin to crisp around the edges.
  • Flip the burgers, then increase the heat to high and cook until well browned on the second side, about 2 minutes.
  • Add 1 or 2 slices of cheese to each burger and allow to melt.
  • Add mayo, mustard and pickles to the top buns, then place each burger on a bottom buns.
  • Serve immediately.

LEMON BLUEBERRY TURNOVERS

LEMON BLUEBERRY TURNOVERS
4-6 inch pieces of puff pastry
1 lemon, juiced
2 cups small wild blueberries
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 egg

  • Preheat oven to 425°.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • In a small bowl whisk egg.
  • In a medium bowl stir together the blueberries, cornstarch, 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of
  • the powdered sugar.
  • Arrange the puff pastry squares on the parchment paper several inches apart.
  • Drain blueberries for a couple minutes.
  • Lightly brush the edges of the puff pastry.
  • With a slotted spoon divide the blueberry mixture among the puff pastry pieces.
  • Gently fold a corner over to form a triangle and secure edges by firmly pressing the edges together with your fingers.
  • Brush the outside of the turnovers with the beaten egg.
  • Make a 1 inch slice on the top of each turnover.
  • Bake the turnovers 14-18 minutes until golden, turning the pan half way through.
  • While the turnovers are baking, make the glaze.
  • In a small bowl whisk together 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. If too thick add a bit more lemon juice.
  • When turnovers are done, let cool at least 10 minutes before drizzling glaze over top.

NOTE: I like to use the juice that drain off the blueberries.

TROPICAL BBQ MEATBALLS

Seems like lately I have needed to make a bunch of appetizers for one event after another. Meatballs are one of my favorite dishes to make and can be prepared bite size AND in large batches without sauce and frozen for the future.

TROPICAL BBQ MEATBALLS makes 3 dozen 1 inch meatballs

1 cup quick cooking oats
3/4 cup finely minced Vidalia onion
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons half and half
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3 cloves garlic, minced
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
3/4 pound lean ground beef
3/4 pound ground pork
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Grease a wire rack and set inside a jelly roll pan.
  • Combine the oats, half the onion, half and half, garlic, egg, salt, pepper, chili powder and paprika in a large bowl.
  • Crumble the beef over the oats mixture and using your hands, mix well, but with minimal mixing.
  • Roll into 1 inch balls and place on wire rack.
  • Bake 20 minutes or until meat is no longer pink.
  • Remove rack from pan.
  • Wipe pan dry of any grease.
  • Add meatballs back to pan.

1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup apricot pineapple preserves
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
2 tablespoons honey

  • Combine the ketchup, preserves, brown sugar, liquid smoke and remaining onion in a small saucepan.
  • Bring to a SLOW boil.
  • Reduce heat, add honey and simmer 10-15 minutes until thickened.

 

  • Drizzle sauce over meatballs and turn to coat.
  • Return pan to oven and bake another 15 minutes.
  • Arrange on a platter and serve.