Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Lasagnad Out

I suspect you can figure out which is for home and which is for work

I know that lasagnad is not a real word, no reason to even hit that little ABC in the corner of the screen that sometime magically corrects the spelling errors but...that is what I am.

The store won a contest last week and we had $50 to fill the fridge.  Now I don't know about your family or where you work but getting 25 people to agree on food when there is no place to cook it is not easy.  The group is definitely not into healthy stuff or we could fill it with yogurt, orange juice, fruit and the like.  Their original vote was just get $50 worth of pizza (which unless we bought it at Cici's would be just a couple of pies).

For some insane reason I volunteered to make Lasagna.  Now I love lasagna, it oozes cheese and tomato least I love it the first couple of days.  So four pans later (3 for the store 1 for home) I am lasaganad out!

Actually all was fine with it at work until Michael called me to bring some home for him, I am not good at bringing food home though so...I made an entire pan just for the two of us.  Now the thing about this dish is that it is not a good just for two thing.  After each of us had a decent size piece on Saturday night I was left with most of a 9" X12" pan of it.  Into the fridge it went until....I offered it to the next door neighbor.  Now the thing is my husband had not had quite as much by that point as I had.  In the freezer now is a decent size piece for us (him) and the rest went next door.

I actually used the no boil noodles for the store and I have to say they tasted pretty good and were a heck of a lot faster for prepping than the old fashioned kind.  Also discovered was the fact that all these years of making lasagna, I was baking it for too long.  You live and you learn!

Lasagna (for home)
1 pkg lasagna noodles
2 cups non fat cottage cheese
1 cup mozzarella (I prefer Polly-o) shredded
1 cup Parmesan cheese (I really like the kind you need to shred but what the heck)
2 eggs
1 tablespoon or more of Italian seasoning
2 jars good spaghetti sauce

Cook the noodles according the the package directions.  While that is happening put the cheeses in a bowl, add the eggs and the Italian seasoning and mix it up well. When done drain and run cold water over noodles.  Cover the bottom of a 9 x 12 pan with sauce than put in a layer of noodles (probably 5), put about a 1/3 of the cheese mixture on top of the noodles and spread it out, top that with a good amount of sauce.  Repeat the layers twice.  Top with noodles and the remainder of the sauce.  Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for half an hour.  Remove from oven and put some more of the mozzarella cheese and Parmesan on the top, bake for about another 5 minutes uncovered.  Viola....a lot of lasagna!

Yes, Bear likes lasagna
So three pans of lasagna and a couple of bowls of salad later and there is still $15 or so left to spend.  Should I just surprise them or should I take a vote on what they would like?

Friday, March 23, 2012

It's Friday!!!!!

I do not think that I have ever been as excited about having a day off as I am today!!  It is beautiful out and should be around 80 this afternoon, its only 10am and it's already a wonderful 71.  There is so much I want to do today so thought I would post early and then get my day going....

The sacrificial tomato plants

More herbs for the garden, patiently waiting to be re potted

I think these are mini daffodils

One thing about living down here is that the leaves fall in the spring.  Michael had raked every single one up 2 weeks ago, as he was standing there admiring his handiwork they started to fall again.

These lasted through the winter and are blooming away!

My sad looking garden, the grass or weeds or whatever they are is almost impossible to rip out of the ground.  The rosemary bush is heading towards tree status!

This is the view we have everyday.  That is the Coburg Creek which nicely floods our yard at lunar high tide and storms.  I love the tree to the right, the landlord said its petrified...there is something about it that just draws me.  You can't see the Egrets that were flying around but I did!

It seems like everything is in bloom!  Behind this property is the Stono River and we get a wonderful breeze off it.  You can hear the boats going up and down it and it is part of the inter-coastal waterway.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Ballet

Last night we had the great pleasure of seeing the Royal Winnipeg Ballet do Moulin Rouge.  The event was at the Gailliard Auditorium and was presented by the Charleston Concert Society which brings different events to Charleston through the year. 

No, I did not take this picture.

World Market had loaned them some decor items for the After Party and Michael and I were invited to attend.  We had a wonderful time, met some great folks, ate some fabulous food and drank some delicious Canadian wines.

In the past we have had the pleasure to enjoy Kathleen Battle who used to sing with the Metropolitan Opera and Audra McDonald (who was absolutely fantastic!) amongst many other amazing shows.  You never know what the CCA will have on the line-up from year to year, anything from Jazz to modern dance.

If you live near or in Charleston or are coming to visit, check to see if the CCA has an event going on.  You will not be disappointed.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Fresh Tomatoes!

Greetings at the end of day two.  I have just arrived home from the birthday party and I am pooped!  We had a wonderful time and I met some new fantastic ladies!  Here is the promised picture of the Italian Kabob's

These were amazingly easy and inexpensive to make, even I was shocked.  The concern was that the fresh mozzarella would make them pretty pricey but I discovered that you can buy the mozzarella from the salad bar at Harris Teeter and it was only 5.99 a pound versus 8.99 a half a pound from the cheese section.  Major score!  The other bargain I got today was the fresh basil.  For 2.00 you can get an entire plant which can then be re potted.

Italian Kabobs

1 pint cherry tomatoes halved
1/2 lb fresh mozzarella balls halved
Fresh basil ripped into small pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Drizzle of Balsamic vinegar

Put one piece of tomato on skewer followed by a piece of basil, than another tomato, mozzarella, and repeat the tomato combination.  Continue on the skewers until you run out of either cheese or tomatoes (I ran out of tomatoes first so Bear and I had to finish the cheese).

Place on a plate and sprinkle with salt and pepper than drizzle with olive oil and vinegar.


Day Two of the Week

Yes its a little after 5 Eastern time and I am pouring coffee down my throat and getting ready to hop in the shower.  The week continues but I have a week to continue so that's a major upside!!

I have finally decided what to make tonight and they are little Kabob's.  They sound pretty easy, some marinade, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and a basil leaf all speared on a skewer!  The down side is I need to stop at the grocery store on the way home.  That would not be a problem but the store near me for some unknown reason only carries their brand of mozzarella cheese and it is shredded.

Yes, I will have to skip the Piggly Wiggly on the way to either Publix or Harris Teeter.  I wouldn't have thought of a block of cheese as something gourmet but...apparently the people at the Pig do.  I remember my first shopping trip there when we moved to South Carolina from California...I was looking for french cut string beans.  They were no where to be found, then I went to the cereal aisle to get some oatmeal and it was in a small space on the bottom shelf the grits section. I will never forget finding Velvetta and the Cheez Wiz in the refridgerated cheese (sort of) section. It was a different kind of experience.

Even though I often cannot find the extravagant items I am looking for at the Pig, just about everyone there knows me if not by name then by site.  They ask after my husband (I think some of the ladies secretly lust for him) and how things are at work.

Well into the shower I go!  Perhaps pictures of the skewers later today....

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Hectic Week

This is a rather busy and hectic week for me.  My boss is on vacation (which is no biggie honestly) but between work and social obligations the next evening I will be home is Friday.  I was supposed to be at work until about 10 last night but the driver who was supposed to pick up truck (and deliver it around 5 pm last night) ran out of hours.  The trailer was discovered in the yard in Virginia some time after noon yesterday, so the schedules for the first few days of the week had to be re-worked. 

In case you didn't know (and unless you deal with trucks you probably don't) truck drivers can only drive so many hours before they must rest.  I am thankful for this law, tractor trailers are big and if a driver falls asleep at the wheel many folks can get seriously injured.

I took care of a few things yesterday and then surprised Michael by returning home a few hours after I had left.  It was great yesterday but puts a crimp in my plans the rest of the week as I am now closing tonight and back tomorrow at 6 am to get all the freight on the shelves.  The schedule was to stay last night, go back in at 6 this am and be off today at 2 not to return to work until Wednesday am. 

Tomorrow night I have 2 birthday parties to attend one of which I am supposed to bring finger food.  One of the struggles I always seem to face is keeping it simple so I sit here trying to figure out what I can make and still squeeze a nap in tomorrow afternoon.  I have delusions of grandeur but somehow in a 3 hour window I have to get home, take a nap, probably go to the grocery store, make the finger food, put myself together so I actually look nice and get to where I need to be.

This group knows me to be the cook...I always bring some tasty morsel, something tempting, something they don't make themselves.  Many of the ladies at the party do not cook.  Not that they do not know how, they just choose not to so....that means most of the finger food will come from the Costco.  My soul is leaning towards the same option but my conscience keeps pulling in the opposite direction.  I keep hearing in my mind..."Colleen make something yourself".

So far I have considered Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes, Italian Style Kabobs, Fried Wontons, Sushi, Pinwheel Sandwiches.....there are probably more rolling around in there.  A decision needs to be made soon since probably the best thing for me to do would be to do the shopping today so that the all important nap can me taken (I am very grumpy when I am tired and j can attest to that).

Wednesday is another bang up day, work from 8 to 4 than home and downtown by 6:30 to see Moulin Rouge by a Canadian Ballet Corp.  I think we have scored tickets for the after party!  The store is loaning some decor and gave them a discount on the glassware they purchased, when I told them we were attending they asked if were were attending the party.  Now only the Charleston elite get to attend so that normally leaves us out...I will let you know!

Things start to settle back down on Thursday a bit, I am home in the morning and have the afternoon and evening shift, than off on Friday.  Right now that feels pretty far away!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Day with my Sweetie!

Michael and I had Friday off together so we did some stuff.....

 We went to our favorite local place for breakfast, The Early Bird Diner.  No, not everyone here drives a pick up truck though often it feels that way.  The people that work there are so very friendly and the food is always great even though I don't know about eating Fried Chicken with Waffles for breakfast.

 We drove around John's Island for a while, went to the Goodwill store where Michael bought a sombrero, then we headed to The Angel Oak.  The tree is enormous!

The textures and beauty of the tree cannot be described with words.  Yes this is me....

Somehow I even got Michael to smile for this picture.  He smiles almost all the time except when he has his picture taken. 

 The azalea's are in bloom all across the low country, the colors are breath taking even though these are just a faint shade of pink.

Time to eat again and it's only lunch!

I somewhere along the line got tired of taking pictures of our adventures!  We ended the day with friends a movie and dinner at a place called Mondo's on James Island.  They have great Mussels!

Spend a day with the one you love, do the things you like.  It doesn't have to cost much.  The memories will be priceless!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

My Mom

I think about my Mom and Dad almost everyday, even though they have left this earth they are still with me.  My Mom was a special lady, she had her faults but each of us do.  As the years pass the bad things dissipate and I am left with warm memories.  I guess I get my love of cooking and feeding people from her.

There was always a crowd at our house when I was growing up, partially from the fact that there were 6 kids plus our parents.  Add to that our grandparents many a weekend and you start with a crowd.  My brothers had a lot of friends, some who became brothers in law but always seemed like they were brothers before that.  They were in and out of the house and ate with us.  Meals were important and we had assigned seating, Mom and Dad sat at the ends of the table, I sat to Mom's left with Danny next to me.  Jim sat to Dad's left with Chris next to him and than Kevin next to Mom.  For the life of me I cannot remember where Stephen sat although he is much younger and some how doesn't fit into the picture I remember.  Perhaps one of the brothers can fill me in on Stephens place.

I remember one meal when Kevin wanted Mom's attention and kept pulling on her sleeve and saying Mom over and over again...he didn't earn any brownie points that night.

Mom was a good cook most of the time.  She fed all of us on a dime, Dad had gotten blackballed by a company he had worked for and scraped to make a living.  He was one of the hardest working men I have ever known.

Like all of us she had her boo boos like the time she tried to make baked beans.  Now our parents had an
open house on New Years day, there was always a ton of food but the year I remember the most Mom cooked a turkey and Dad sliced it an put it all back together.  A major engineering feat!  Well Mom decided that year to make baked beans from scratch, we were not really a bean from scratch family and she got a recipe from somewhere.  Somehow she missed the soaking and cooking of the beans, you can guess what they were like.....I have never tried to make them from scratch myself for fear that the same thing will happen to me.

What brought on this wave of nostalgia was a post from a friend on his blog for Beef Bourguignon.  For my grandparents 50th wedding anniversary they had a drop in kind of thing at their apartment in Brooklyn.  We weren't very involved in the details (my brothers and I) but Mom found this recipe for Beef in Wine Sauce (as I knew it to be).  I only remember her making it that one time and it was absolutely delicious.  It was many years later (like 40) when I was going through Michael's Betty Crocker Cookbook that I came across the very same recipe.  It turned out just as good as it was many years ago.  I also came across the infamous Three Bean Casserole, that did not taste good the first time and I will never replicate that one!

Sadly my Mom passed away from Cancer at the age of 60 and Dad followed her five years later, they had the kind of marriage most of us only dream of.   They fought I am sure but their love overwhelmed everything else.  They were strict with us and Dad was not shy of using the belt (which my brothers and I hid on many an occasion) but I feel we grew up to be better people because of it even though my brothers (especially Dan) took the brunt of it.

The picture that haunts my mind of Mom though is in a hospital bed unable to speak.  Her bright blue eyes seeking me out, filled with fear.  She couldn't talk and I wish I had been able to tell her it was okay to go the same as I did with Dad.  We did hospice for Dad and I wish we had done it for Mom.  She passed away in a nursing facility without her family around her in the early hours of the morning.  I was living in California and for some reason I guess just expected her to live on even though she was not living a life.

Dad sucummed to cancer 5 years later.  It was very quick but he was at home with us, we cared for him, loved him, gave him his medications but most of all he was at home.  The day he died the nurse told me I had to tell him it was okay to go.  That was the most painful moment of my life, to tell my Daddy it was okay to die, to leave us.  All of us were together when Dad died, it was a remarkable moment, to be there when someone breathes their last breath.  When you can no longer tell them your secrets, your dreams.  It is not about you it's about them and the love they gave you.

I love my family, my husband, my daughters, my brothers, my uncles, my aunts and my cousins.  I love the family I have that is not really family.

I am blessed.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Bear the Dog and His Many Obsessions

This is Bear.  He has many obsessions.  I was sitting here this afternoon reading and he came up and started licking my feet (an obsession of his) and I thought, why not share all of his loves with you.  This is probably not a complete list but it should hit on the high points.

This is his squeaky bone.  It is probably his favorite possession in the entire world.  It needs a bath (again).

This is his dog bed.  We have had a few fosters eat  Bear's dog bed, he was not amused and suggested that they take a ride in the car with the lady all by themselves.  Yes, that is Bear trying to get into the picture (another one of his obsessions, having his picture taken).

These are some of Bears toys.  He loves them but  adores the large tennis ball on the left side.  It makes a lot of noise.

This is Bears sleeping spot.  He had a few pillows but for some reason he decided to eat them the last time the pillow cases got washed.  He carefully arranges the pillows every night and seems to be unhappy when we straighten them out.

 This is Bears favorite thing in the world, chicken.  He sat while I took this picture in hopes that being a good boy would earn him a chicken leg and thigh.

Bear must have clean water (unless it is the rain bucket outside the back door that Michael uses to water the plants).  He will not drink water with slobber or dirt in it.  This has caused difficulties for Bear with some of the fosters, he just refused to drink after them.

This is Bears dinner from last night.  He is not obsessive about kibble.  His greatest hope is that someone will come drop some tasty morsel in his bowl to make this horrible (to him at least) meal taste better.  Do not worry he will not starve.

Bear loves to watch TV.  It started out with just animals that moved fast but now he is a fan of Downton Abbey and he really seems to enjoy opera and various sporting events.

As I was running the spell check and previewing this I remembered another obsession of his, the trash can in the bathroom (because I could hear him put his head through the top of it).  He does that more for attention than for the paper, although he enjoys the paper.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Left overs?
We brought the snacks to church last night for after the service.  I enjoy doing this because....I like seeing people eat what I make.  I found when I had everything together that I did not need to make anything else, there was plenty!  While I finished getting ready to go Michael got everything in the car for me (he really is the most thoughtful husband!).  The Curried Egg Salad sandwiches were covered on a plate in the back, the salsa, tortillas and bowls were in an insulated carrying bag that just left the cupcakes. 

I do not have a cupcake carrier.  This was never a problem for me since I rarely make cupcakes until last night.  The icing was big and if we put any type of wrap on the plate they would have gotten smushed, so Michael put them in the middle of the back seat.  He offered to have me hold the plate which in retrospect I should have done but...oh well..too late now! 

All was going well until we took one turn...the plate slid over to the passenger side of the car and the cupcakes went willy nilly all over the place.  There was icing everywhere.  When we got to church I was able to save all but one of the little devils, it had fallen on the floor and you know we have Bear the dog who likes to ride in the car.

The fur offender
The service was wonderful as always and then off we went to tea time.  Every one dug into the sandwiches and the dip but.....the cupcakes sat there.  And than... someone I know came up and asked me "everyone wants to know what is in the icing".  What's in the icing?  It's icing for Pete's sake...not some odd concoction.  It was almost as if they were afraid that I would poison them...with iced cupcakes.  I told her and there the cupcakes sat, unloved, unwanted, uneaten.  So out of the 22 that actually made it to church I still have 9.  There were a few brave souls and a few husbands who don't get food like that at home but...of all that I thought would come home with us, the cupcakes were not even close on the list!

My mother raised me in a certain way and perhaps yours did too.  If you are served something you do not care for you quietly do not eat it, you do not under any circumstances say something like "yuck", "I hate that" or questioning what is in the icing.  It is interesting to me in my more mature years that I hear adults my age and older making comments such as this.  What has happened to manners and just plain old being polite? 

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Banana Hammock and Other Exciting Things

A few weeks ago Michael went on a shopping excursion, he was actually out to buy a new shower curtain liner and wound up in Bed Bath and Beyond, the land of everything you need for your home which is overpriced.  I always wonder about stores that send you a $20 off coupon every single week......

So anyway he comes home with not only the shower curtain liner but....a Banana Hammock.  It was on clearance (hard to believe!) so since we are hammockless for our bananas it came to our home.  Now I don't know about you but my bananas don't have such a tough life...they hang on a banana hanger made for me by my beloved husband out of a coat hanger (it really was very ingenious of him).  They certainly did not need a hammock to laze around the house in!

Last weekend I had some spare time and was tired of looking at the box with the banana hammock in it so I put it together.  This is what it looks like in all its beauty! 

Standing in for the bananas is one lonely apple
  I was quite excited to have the banana hammock built (not) and tried to find a spot to keep it.  It wound up in the middle of the kitchen table and there it sat in all its glory.

As you know Liz and her boyfriend came for dinner on Sunday night.  He admired our banana being the loving parents we are we gave it to him.  We shed many tears at the departure of the banana hammock.

Tomorrow night we are hosting the snacks after church.  Being Episcopals of course there is wine and the food that the host or hostess decides to bring. I am always afraid there will not be enough food...I don't know what that is all about is what it is.  So for tomorrow night I am bringing (it will probably grow so...)  Curried Egg Salad Sandwiches, Black Bean and Corn Salsa with Chips and Red Velvet Cupcakes.  I am thinking of adding some Chicken Salad Sandwiches and I have the mix in the kitchen for Lemon Bars.

Everything is as close to ready as it can be since I am working tomorrow..the egg salad is in the fridge as is the salsa.  The cupcakes just came out of the oven and the icing is about ready to go.  I have never tasted Red Velvet cake...I just know everybody down here eats it so...I do have to say that my hands are red from the mix.  Makes me kind of suspicious. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Of The Same Mind

Yesterday was kind of a long day at work for both of us.  My day started a little later than normal and we were busy with both customers and moving the sales floor around.  One thing about retail is that there is always something to do. 

Next Sunday night we receive the first round of outdoor furniture, cushions and all the good stuff that goes with it.  The customers have been looking for these goods for about a month now since we are a coastal city and there are numerous vacation rentals at the beaches close by.  So we will be getting a full 54 foot trailer of stuff, some of it regular, some of it the outdoor.  It is a fine balancing act to get everything out on the floor as close to opening on Monday as possible and this one is a biggy. 

Normally what happens is a crew comes in around 4 pm and takes in the truck.  Sounds not so bad until you know we do not have a loading dock so everything has to be taken off in the back parking lot.  First come the pallets which are generally about 8 foot tall.  On them is a mixture of full cartons of merchandise and what I like to call surprise boxes.  These boxes can contain anywhere from 1 item to a lot of items and are mixed with all the departments in the store.  After the pallets come what is called loose load and it is exactly what it sounds like, loose.  It is a mixture of furniture (heavy), rugs, pictures you name it other than food and breakables.

While the gang is taking the loose load off the truck another crew gets to work sprinkling the boxes of merchandise from the pallets all over the floor in the area they go.  I think you get the idea...

In the wee hours of Monday I come in with a crew and we start in one corner together and put all the freight away.  We travel as a group around the store until all the floor merchandise is on the shelves.  Some weeks are easier than others, this will not be one of those weeks. 

So right now we are getting the back of the store (where the outdoor goes) ready.  Yesterday we moved all the Easter food to its new home and started building fixtures.  Some of them we can fill now so that should make our job easier next week.  We just have to make the middle of the store look like we are not holding a dance anytime soon!  Throw into this whole mess writing next weeks schedule and it was a pretty exciting day. 

I had no idea what to make for dinner and no inspiration to cook it.  Apparently my husband was in the same state of mind.  I knew I had a jar of pasta sauce in the cupboard but didn't feel like making pasta from scratch so I picked up a box of tortellini.  Home I went....a while later in walks the husband with a bag from the grocery store.  He had gotten the makings of spaghetti sauce and a box of angel hair pasta.  He thought I would be home later than him and was planning on getting supper together.  You need to know my husband makes slamming spaghetti sauce! 

Bear was rather wound up so Michael took him for a sniff a rama walk (he has to smell every blade of grass and try to pee on every fence they pass) so I started the sauce.  Mine is good his is excellent but we suffered with mine. 

Here is his recipe for sauce, he doesn't add the garlic but what is spaghetti sauce with out garlic?

Spaghetti Sauce with Meat

1 lb Italian sausage (either links cut in 1 pieces or loose)
1 lb ground beef
1 large can crushed tomatoes
1 regular size cans tomato sauce
2 cloves garlic minced
½ green bell pepper chopped
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

In a stockpot, brown the sausage and ground beef, remove from pan reserving liquid. Add the green pepper cook for about 5 minutes on medium heat stirring occasionally, add the garlic cook for 2 minutes (do not brown the garlic) you may have to turn the temp down a bit for that step. Add back in the meat and stir, then add the remaining ingredients. Give it a good stir, bring to a boil than turn down to simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally.

This makes a lot of sauce!  We have some leftovers for today (I have to close and try to leave Michael some supper) the rest will be put in zip lock bags and frozen.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Liz's Birthday

Today is my youngest daughter Elizabeth's 30th birthday.  I have decided I am much too young to have both daughters in their 30's so they must have switched babies in the hospital (sounds good to me at least)

We invited Liz and her boyfriend over for dinner last night and they accepted.  All I had to do was figure out what to cook.  Now, I don't know how many of you are like this but I didn't really decide what to make until about noon yesterday when Michael and I were headed to the flea market to have a date day.  There were plenty of thoughts flying through my head and goodness knows someday perhaps I will be more organized but this happens to me any time I have to plan to cook something.  I have fantastic thoughts when nothing is on the horizon but the minute I actually have to plan it...bam...all the ideas are gone!

So I decided on the old stand by...the meal Liz loves and used to ask for all the time Chicken in Wine Sauce.
This recipe came to me from my mother, its not written down anywhere and I have no idea where she got it from so....

Anyway I served it with some brown jasmine rice (which thank goodness does taste better than plain brown rice) and peas (yes frozen).  I had boiled some shrimp for an appetizer, made a cocktail sauce out of ketchup and horseradish and finally bought a pre-made cake from Harris Teeter for dessert.  Kindly Liz left the rest of the cake for me (its a little tiny cake but very yummy)

I am in the same dilemma for Saturday night.  Michael and I are bringing the snack for after church and even though I have tons of fantastic ideas I still don't know what I will make and bring.  The last time we went I made a few loaves of molasses bread, sliced them and spread cream cheese and strawberry jam on them along with some egg salad sandwiches.  I tend to get carried away and need to keep it fairly easy on myself.  Detail will follow sometime this week when I make the final decision (which must be before grocery shopping on Friday).

So the recipe for the absolutely delicious (Michael told me so it must be true) Chicken in Wine Sauce

Chicken in Wine Sauce

6 boneless skinless chicken breasts (if very large cut them in half)
Olive oil
2 sticks of butter
1 ½ cups flour
Salt and Pepper
1 cup white wine (I used a Pinot Grigio)
1 bunch green onions

Clarify the butter (basically just melt it in a sauce pan and skim off the white stuff that come to the surface). In a large saute pan put in enough oil to cover the bottom and heat on medium, at the same time place the flour in a flat bowl and season with salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken in the flour than put into the pan. Do not over crowd the need to. Cook about 10 minutes on the first side than flip them over, cook an additional 5 minutes than remove to a plate. Repeat with the rest of the chicken adding more oil if needed. Remove all the chicken from the pan reserving pan drippings and anything else that might be in there.

Turn off the heat and de-glaze the pan (add the wine and remove the bits from the bottom of the pan). Turn the heat to medium and allow to cook for just a minute, add the clarified butter, chicken and green onions. Turn to a simmer and allow to cook for about 20 minutes. I usually add more wine but that's up to you.

Now dinner was ready much earlier than we were so I just turned this to a very low simmer to keep it warm.  Of course I didn't take any pictures and I am thinking the one lonely piece in the storage container in the fridge wouldn't make a good picture...or would it?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Saturday Night

Have you ever read a recipe and thought to yourself "Wow!  That sounds fantastic!".  You read all the reviews and everyone says the same thing?  I did that yesterday. 

I love to look up and read recipes along with their reviews.  It tends to give you a real flavor for the meal along with some excellent ideas when folks have made adjustments and sometimes if there was a mistake in the recipe (which is easy to do).

We were staying in last night and the ingredients I had chosen out of the freezer and array of veggies were chicken and sweet potatoes.  I had not really eaten sweet potatoes growing up, I don't know why we just didn't but, Michael loves them, they are a great source of vitamins and minerals but best of all there is nothing like a baked sweet potato smothered in melting butter (which may reduce the health factor but....).

I had read a recipe for oven fried chicken awhile ago which I was intrigued with.  You simple take your chicken parts roll them in some Dijon mustard mixed with a bit of olive oil and then cover them with panko breadcrumbs which you have seasoned any way your heart desires.  So I did this, threw two sweet potatoes in a 350 degree oven for about an hour (I am always leery when the temperature is something other than 350) and went to figure out what vegetable to have with this.

Right now my freezer is absolutely packed with frozen veggies.  We have french cut green beans, whole green beans, peas, corn, cut spinach, broccoli, brussel sprouts and baby lima beans (I don't think I forgot anyone).  In case you are wondering about the over abundance of frozen veggies the secret is they were on sale.  That is the reason Michael comes home and finds the five containers of ice cream in there too!

The lima beans called my name (Colleen come cook us and eat us).  Michael had introduced me to the southern way of cooking vegetables like string beans and lima beans which includes bacon or some other fat pork meat.  I have to say they are delicious but I suspect totally unhealthy.  He started cooking them with beef bouillon which still tastes very good but is somewhat better for you. I considered doing this but decided that I wanted something different, something absolutely mouth wateringly delicious.  Off to the Internet I went.  I perused numerous recipes, assessing what I had for the recipe, if I could make any substitutions, if it went with what else we were having and what the comments were.  I finally came across it, the recipe I had dreamed of, I had everything that went in it and the comments were fabulous!  These lima beans were going to be unlike any we had ever eaten!

Off to work I went chopping and measuring and cooking.  I have to admit they smelt good!  Finally dinner was ready.  I put the chicken on each of the plates, cut the sweet potato in half (I have to buy the largest ones known to man kind for some reason) and put the lima beans in a serving bowl.  We sat down, Michael said grace and we dug into dinner.  By now I was so excited about the worlds best lima beans that I had to eat them first.  I carefully got a forkful, blew on them since they were still very hot and carefully placed these tasty morsels in my mouth......

Lima beans.  That's all they were!  No great explosion of flavor, not need to eat the entire bowl myself (as so many had said), no longing to drink the sauce the limas were in. I could have just cooked them in plain water and had the same results.

So the great lima bean recipe search will continue.  Until I find that one recipe that does the job, it will be beef bouillon and water for our lima's.