Saturday, January 30, 2010

Elk Hash

Long time ago, when I first married my husband, a friend, Sharon, who taught with me asked me to describe my husband. I said, "Well... he's kind of a cross between a mountain man... and a dictator of a small third world country." When my mother asked me to do the same, I said, "Well... he is like Dad in many ways, a crispy tough-guy coating with a marshmallow center." I'm pretty sure Mom would have liked the second description more.  Here he is examining the work of our subcontractor who installs thermostats.  He's not exactly thrilled about something, which we are about to hear all about.  Step-son is behind him.

I have a bunch of elk meat in my freezer. My step son is responsible for putting it there. See the November 23rd post for more about that. It is often handy to have a couple of mountain men in my life. Hunters, pit bulls, wolves, protectors. And it is occasionally, although not always, handy to have a couple of dictators… small third world country or otherwise.

Either way, I have enjoyed playing with my elk meat. It is tender and lean, much more than comparable meat that I buy in the store. I probably know exactly what my elk ate and where he lived; I often wonder about the meat I buy. I actually saw him, touched him. Said a little elk-spirit prayer over him.

So anyway, last week, I had some of my elk out and started to make dinner. I didn't have a particular recipe in mind. What happened turned out pretty well and my husband asked for it again on Date Night. This time I wrote it down.

Elk Hash. 

Roasted potatoes. See January 20 post
1 1/2 lb Elk meat, washed and dried, then thinly sliced.
1 t. canola oil
1 T butter
1/2 t. salt
2 T. flour
1C. milk
1/4 c. white wine
1 lb crimini mushrooms, cleaned and quartered.

Saute the thinly sliced elk meat in oil until mostly done.  Remove the meat pieces but leave the drippings in the pan.  Add the butter, mushrroms and wine.  Cook until just soft.  Add the flour and whisk to make a paste.  Gradually add the milk, whisking until the sauce is smooth. 

To assemble, place the hot roast potates on a platter.  Top with the elk meat.  Pour the sauce over top.  Return the a warm oven until we are ready to eat.

Oh,  And here is the next generation of mountain man, dictator, hunter, pit bull, wolf.  Step-son's son.  And yes, I can feel the same powerful person within him.  This is going to be interesting.

Remember to be.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Mountain High Yogurt

I'm normally a fairly optimistic and happy person.  High Energy.  I work hard.  I am used to feeling good.  I turned 50 in August.  Somewhere in the last couple of years an extra few pounds snuck up on me and plastered themselves on my body.  The bastards. 

Now, I have a pretty good self esteem.  It's not that.  And my husband thinks I look great just like this.  But somehow, I'm not really enjoying it.  Don't know what else to say about that.  Dieting is very hard for me.  I think about food all the time every day.  What I'm having for lunch, what I'm cooking for dinner.  What I'll cook for the weekend.  All day long. When I don't eat, fair optimistic turns into miserable.  In the past, I've handled this situation by increasing my exercise a bit.  I've always had good metabolism.  As I mentioned, I just turned 50 and what used to be easy, no longer is.
I like yogurt.  Not the stuff that comes with fruit in it in a single serving, real yogurt.  Organic yogurt.  Tart and creamy and fully of all that bacteria that makes your insides work.  So being the person I am, I did a lot of research on how to make yogurt myself.  It can be done.  Not really that hard.  A bit of a committment, but isn't everything worth while in life? 

For breakfast, today.  Mountain High Yogurt, organic and wholesome.  It's good and less committment.  From my freezer, blueberries that I picked last summer at Josh and Amanda's place.  I'm remembering what summer feels like and remembering that another one is coming, well sometime.  It has to, doesn't it? And blueberries are coming back.  Walking barefoot in the grass is coming back.  Josh's barbecue is coming back.  Kids and dogs chasing each other in the yard is coming back.  Really it is, in a few months.  Remember to be optimistic.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Husband's Pie

My husband is a carnivore, a mountain man, a lone wolf.  He does not have a sweet tooth and rarely eats dessert.  Oh, he'll eat ice cream, but that's about it.  This presents a problem.  One of favorite all time things, well besides King Crab, artichokes in butter, steamed clams, Josh's barbecued ribs, shrimp prepared any way, is pie.  To be more precise, pie crust.  I absolutely love the stuff.  It makes me dream of lovely afternoons helping my grandmother make mincemeat and peeling apples for my mom.  It makes me warm and comfortable.  I can smell it now as I write this.  I love pie crust and I make a pretty good one.  I blogged about it for days already, see November 6 "All for the love of pie crust, installment 1" and November 8 "All for the love of pie crust, installment 2" for the recipe and the Zen of Pie.

I suppose it's for the best, that Husband does eat much pie.  We'd both be as big as a house.  But there is one pie that he asks for.  A very simple thing.  Not really even a recipe.  This is Husband's pie (Or Lemon Meringue).

It starts with a baked pie crust.  See my previous pie posts for the recipe.  Just the bottom crust for this one.  Crimp it and poke holes with a knife in the bottom. 

I love kitchen gadgets, but there are many which are unnecessary in my opinion.  Do what you like.  There are weights you can buy to put in the buttom of the pie crust while baking. The fear is the very high heat that this cooks at will cause the bottom to puff up.  I've been doing this all my life and never really had a problem. 

Bake the pie crust at 450 degrees for 10 minutes or until golden.  Allow to cool. 

And here is my favorite helper.  She is the perfect child and the subject of my December 5 post.  I hope she will think of me as she cooks after I am gone.  She has the same desire to taste and touch.  She is curious and courageous.  Today, she has a new card game.  Unlike me, she doesn't really care what the instructions say and she is teaching me the game by her rules.

Next, the filling.  One 4.3 oz box of Jello cook & serve lemon pudding.  Yes, I know.  I never cook with powder and I never cook with something if I don't understand the ingredient list, but this is an exception.  My helper wants a taste, a little goes on her plate.  "Yum," she says.  The rest, well after the spoonfuls I eat, go into the prepared pie crust.  It's a wonder I'm not huge. 

Now meringue.  A touchy subject for some.  For me also, until I decided it didn't have to be perfect.  For years, I've said about pie crust, "A messy pie crust is better than no pie crust."  As it is with meringue. 

Beat 3 egg whites in a large bowl on high speed until foamy.  Gradually add 1/3 c. sugar until stiff peaks form.  I'm not a cream of tartar person.  Someone out there may think I'm wrong about that, but oh well.  Spread meringue over filling with a spatula, sealling the edges.  I always try to make the curly-q in the merinugue on top.  It never turns out the way I want.  Oh well.  Old habits die hard.

Cool the oven to 350 degrees and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the meringue is browned.  Cool to just warm or to room temp.

Anything that looks imperfect about this was intended.
And remember.  If life throws you lemon, well, make lemon pie.

Roasted potatoes

In my house, most of the things we like best are fairly simple.  But, we live in a culture where bigger is better and more is the new good.  That has gotten us into trouble as a country and a culture and a people.  A couple years ago, I committed to cooking more local food and being a good kitchen roll model to those around me.   I hope to teach the young ones around me what I believe about food and experience and life.  I've done this completely imperfectly, but I keep trying.  Eat local, eat in season.

I've been making roasted potatoes and Husband likes them.  They make a good side dish when you have the time.  They take an hour.  .

 Roasted potatoes

This is 10 2 - 3" yellow skinned potatoes, peeled and cubed, 1/2 c. olive oil, 1 t. salt, 1/8 t. pepper, and 2 to 3 garlic cloves minced. Toss it in a bowl well enough to coat the potatoes in the olive oil and distribute the rest of the ingredients throughout. Turn it onto a foil covered cookie sheet or roasting pan. It goes into a very hot, 425 degree oven.

It needs to get checked every 10 minutes or so. Turn the potatoes by geting under them with a spatula or other flat tool. Here, I'm using my bamboo stir fry tool. Just make sure that the potatoes aren't sticking, which they are likely to do because of the hight heat.

 Each time, you turn them they get a little browner.  The goal is crispy brown on the outside and cooked, yummy-soft on the inside.  Of course, I get to nibble each time I check on them.  Cooks privilege.  As I've mentioned, it's been taking about an hour.

Move them to a platter to serve as a side dish.  (If you haven't poked holes in the foil, the pan is still clean.  :) 

I made them the night Mom was here and we had Beef Bourguignon.  See December 27.  We ate the stew over the potatoes.  Check back for the Elk Hash blog.  The potato part of that dish is these potatoes. 

Remember to have fun and relax.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Summer in a Jar

I want to can.  When I was younger and constantly broke, I made pints and 1/2 pints of blackberry jam every year.  Blackberries grow wild here and with a small amount of effort and organization it is fairly easy to pick large quanties when they are ripe.  Throughout the year, when I needed a small hostess gift or thank-you gift I gave away my jam.  I haven't done it in a few years, but I often make strawberry/rhubarb jelly or raspberry.  I like pickles and determine each year that I will make tons, but often life gets in the way.

Canning makes me remember the way summer feels.  It gives me hope.  It makes me smile.  Why don't I do it more?  Thank you mom, once again, for teaching me how.

When I was young, my mother and grandmother canned all summer.  They ended up with dozens and dozens of jars of beans, cherries, peaches, pears, pickles, relish.  They didn't have much money during those years.  Mom, my Grandmother, my sister and I went to U-pick fields.  We picked the product in the morning then went home to can it in the afternoon.  Many an afternoon, I spent belly up to the sink with a pairing knife peeling sinks and sinks of fruit.  To this day, I can peel an apple with a pairing knife faster than anyone I've ever known.  Really.  Try me.

Last summer, I made pickled three-bean salad in pints.  My husband won't even consider eating it, so it's all mine.  Here's what I have left. Not much.

When I make a sandwich, Husband gets potato chips and I get a scoop of this.  Crunchy and tart.  Colorful.  I bought the beans at a farmstand down the road from my house.  Green beans and wax beans.  There was an earthness in the air.  The smell of a working farm.  Fans were placed in the windows to keep air moving through her little building.  I dipped my hands into big bins of beans and dropped handfuls into paper bags.  I picked out leafs and stems and said, "The wusses.  These are machine picked bush beans.  In my day, pole beans were picked by hand."  Sorry, that's just what I said.

I went home and filled one side of my sink with water and poured the beans into it.  Beans float.  Or they don't.  But mostly they do.  Then I transferred handfuls into the other sink.  Let out the water and fill the sink with clean and back into the pool again, boys, for bath number two.  Then, set a colander into the second sink and deposit the now clean beans to drain. 

And I snipped.  Between thumb and first finger, twist off the stem and tip end.  Break them in two or three to get a uniform length.  A satisfying sound when beans snap.  This is what food is people.  Real food, Real life.

Pickled Three-Bean Salad from Kerr Kitchen Cookbook   

3 cups (2 to 3 inch) fresh green bean or yellow beans or a combination
2 (16 oz) cans red kidney beans, rinsed and drained.
2 (16 oz) cans garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup sliced onion
1 cup sliced celey
1 cup sliced green bell pepper
2 1/2 c. water
2 cups white vinegar
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. bottled lemon juice
1 t. Kerr Pickling Salt.

Wash and snip the beans.  Blanch in boiling water for 3 minutes, the cool in ice water.  Drain well.  In a very large bowl, combine beans and remaining vegetables.  Set aside.  In 4 quart saucepan, combine water, vinegar, sugar, lemon juice and pickling salt. Bring to a boil over medium - high heat.  Pour hot vinegar mixture over vegetables.  Mix well.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  In saucepan, bring vegetables/vinegar mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.  Immediately fill hot pint jars with vegetables, leaving 1 inch headspace.  Pour hot vinegar mixture into jars leaving 1/2 inch head space.  Wipe the jar tops.  Place lids and bands.  Process in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes.  Remove and cool. 

You know they sealed when you hear that lovely deep popping sound.  I remember lieing in bed at my grandmother's and hearing that sound every so often after a day of canning peaches.  Also, you know a jar has sealed if you press with your thumb on the lids and there is no give.  The lid of an unsealed jar will pop in when pressed on.

Remember to put a dated label on each jar. 

And remember to enjoy the process and feel good.

Monday, January 18, 2010

A gardener can only dream

My green house is starting to work again.  I should explain.  In December and January, the best I hope for is keeping everything alive.  In addition, I can usually continue to harvest thyme, mint and oregano for part of that time.

Other than that, I go into maintenance mode.  Actually, I ignore it. 

But it has been a mild winter for us.  Well, mild in temperature.  Where I live it starts to rain about November and quits sometime around May.   This picture was from last year.  No snow this year. 

But at some point I get to start to think of seed starting.  I can get to 60 or 70 some days and stay above 40 at night.  I've got a little heat in it.  If it isn't completely overcast and raining, I can get a little solar gain happening.

So it is this time of year, I start to think about what my garden will look like.  I don't have a big one mind you.  Perennials, shade and sun, and roses.  Blue berries and strawberries.  Fresh herbs and tomatoes.  I planted a raspberry plant and a blackberry plant last year.  They are just sticks now.  I suppost it is obvious this picture is early May, not now.

I use fresh herbs when I have them.  I use basil, tarragon, oregano, parsley, chives, mint, thyme.  I don't plant a zucchini usually or a cucumber.  I have access to farm fresh local produce at a modest price in season.  Although, last year I longed to play around with zucchini blosoms, battered and fried, or stuffed.  That would have been fun.  I wanted to make my grandmother's zucchini relish, but I didn't get it done.

I've planted bush beans the last couple years and that was fun.  I started some soy beans last spring, but went on vacation in June and killed some of them and gave the rest to my daughter in law. 

I've always wanted some dwarf fruit trees, but I don't have the room.  And let's be serious.  I wouldn't take care of them well enough.  Darn it.  That unfortunate need for gainful employment.  It gets in my way.

Oh well.  A girl can dream.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Did I mention that change is good?

As I've mentioned before, my husband and I own a construction company.  We were flying high in 2007.  The world was ours to reach for.  Then 2008 came along and life was a little harder.  We didn't enjoy 2009 very much.  I think 2010 will be better, but we are all a bit traumatized. 

As my Father used to say about challenges, "It Builds Character!"  Our life together over the last 2 years has shown us what we are made of.  If you have been in a successful longterm partnership, you have the experience of knowing the absolute worst, deep dark nasties of your partner and also the sublime, god-like perfection of your partner.  My parents were like that. 

My Father was fearless.. and just a little reckless.  I believe he had a severe learning disability which he passed along to me, but also a keen intelligence.  He could build anything, do anything, make anything.  He knew how everything worked.  He had energy and stamina to burn.  He also couldn't read or write above about a 4th grade level.  Being a trained teacher myself, I believe that (1) I have the same learning disability and (2) I was fortunate to have had a few excellent tutors and role models.  I was taught compensations to my learning disability.  I just think differently.  The right teacher (Mrs. Wellander, Miss Pierce, and Mr. Clark, bless you all) makes all the difference. 

But, my father was born December 5, 1929 in Cheyenne Valley, Oklahoma at the beginning of the depression.  By the way, Cheyenne Valley, Oklahoma, no longer exists for notable reasons.  My father taught me that I could do anything.  That I was smarter than the Average Bear.  That I had stamina and strength that I didn't even know I had.  That I could do things if I could only figure it out.

My Mother was Articulate, Thoughtful, and Brilliant.  If you look at my post on December 27th, you may see something else, but that is what she was.  She was also fearful in all the ways my father was fearless.  My mothers' fearfulness dominated many of their decisions, but they balanced each other in ways my husband balances me.  When my father started a business, my mother took accounting classes.  That is the way with us also.  My mother was born on Marh 13, 1936 in Cleo Springs, OK during the depression to watermellon farmers, Lee and Irene Rose.  She was born to two amazing people who did amazing things once they only had a chance. 

Now back to Darrell and I in January 2010.  We've been looking for a property which has the qualities of our home, but also has the qualities of our business.  We are hoping for both functions on one property to reduce overall costs.  We found a property like that today.  Many good qualities.  Well, an electric stove, that's bad.  And I could go on and on.  But it had a nice house and a shop for the business and another residence where our kids, who also work for us, could live.

I could have a chicken coup.  Josh could have a cow he could raise for the butcher.  My dad would have loved the set up.  My mother would have immediately started canning things and making curtains.  Whether we'll actually make a change is unknown.  I'm proud of us for working through the problems and looking for solutions. 

Me, I came back and felt grateful to have a warm bright comfortable home.  I immediately started cooking.

This is brown rice cooked in beef stock and a little salt.  Some butter, then some cooked brocolli and some shredded parmesan cheese.

  Husband has a beef sausage that he likes.  I have another recipe using it that also has potatoe and tomato.  It will be in the cookbook.  See my October 29 post.

Here I've heated a little olive oil and browned it.  I poured the sausage and all the liquid in the pan over the other ingredients.  Then, I stuck it in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.  Pretty good.  And even pretty healthy.

Remember to be a good roll model to someone.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Cooking for Pleasure

I have this unfortunate need for gainful employment.  The last two years have not been kind to the business my husband and I own and run together.  We've been working very hard and I think we will pull through.  In addition to a long week, we worked on Saturday too.  I was planning on cooking for pleasure last night but didn't get home soon enough, so the Queen of Casseroles whipped something up quickly and we watched a movie.  But today, Sunday, I planned, insisted actually, on a few hours to do as I please, which included painting some furniture and cooking.   My December 27 post talked about my visit with my mother and the pleasurable day we had making Julie Child's Beef Bourguignon.  I had been thinking that it had been awhile since I made a good old American beef stew, so that is what I set out to do.  I've modified a recipe I have.  This is not original.

Beef Stew Chez Osborne
In my largest kettle, I browned about 2 1/2 lbs of stew meat in 3 T. Olive oil seasoned in 1 T. Salt and quite a bit of fresh ground pepper.  When each piece was browned on the outside but still uncooked on the inside, I removed them to a plate, got rid of the juices they gave off and wiped out my kettle. 

Now 1/2 a medium onion finely chopped.  Onion is a sensitive issue in my house.  Husband doesn't like it.  Sorry dear, Stew has onion in it, please forgive me.  And 3 cloves of garlic minced. 

There is a pleasure of all the sense in cooking for me.  I want to take the time to touch things, smell things, as I go.  I grow my garlic.  My October 31 post showed my crop from the summer.  In my climate it is harvested in late June and hung to dry.  I still have a bit.  It isn't beautiful, but it is very lovely to cook with. This it about half of my remaining stash, so I'll be buying it from the grocery store before the next crop comes in.  What a bummer. 

Return the meat to the pot once the onions and garlic is cooked.  A little can of tomato paste (that's probably too much, but I can't stand to waste it.)  A 1/3 c. flour sprinkled over that and mixed.  Then an entire 32 oz carton of beef broth. 

Checked the furniture for dryness then out to my greenhouse for herbs.  The winter has not been kind to several things in  my greenhouse.  I'm a bit embarrassed.  The starts of kinnikinnick I was going to winter over and plant in the spring are not looking good.  The oregano and mint looks good.  The chives plant didn't winter over well, but it should be alive.  We'll see what it does.  Here is my thyme plant. 

The leaves are still fragrant and soft, although the plant is quite lopsided.  Took a moment to sniff and feel good.  I tasted it and decided to use it.  Don't worry little friend; spring is coming!  Snipped some and back to the kitchen.   I don't have a bay leaf plant, although I would very much like to.  I think they are Mediterranian.  I wonder if they would winter over in the Pacific Northwest?   I'm out of cheese cloth, but no worries.  I had fun cramming the Thyme and 3 dried old crinkly bay leaves into my tea ball.  I really need to look into the bay leaf plant!

Into the pool little tea ball.  I suspect that Emeril would not approve of this procedure, but it is really cracking me up.  Slowly simmered this one for an hour.

5 carrots and 2 celery stalks.  American stew has potatoes in it.  Five small red skinned potatoes, peeled.

And into the soup.  Where's the tea ball?  Oh there it is.  Okay this isn't exactly the recipe in the Betty Crocker Cookbook, but I'm not really a turnip girl.  Husband comes by, like he does every evening, to tell me it smells good and kiss my neck.

Cook the whole thing at a low simmer for another hour.  About this time, I poured myself a glass of wine and turned on the television.  This should be a nice night.  My favorite sou chef, the golden retriever, is Hoovering (As in vacuuming the floor for crumbs) at my feet.

Osborne Cheese Bread
There are two full time residents of this house, but many visitors. 
Husband likes cheese bread, but if it's just us, the french bread loaf gets dry.  I'm going to make cheese bread out of the remaining loaf and freeze part of it.  Will that work?  It should.

Slice the pieces, spread with butter.  Then a pinch of garlic powder between my fingers and sprinkle it over all pieces and the same with Italian seasoning.  Then spinkle with mozzarella cheese.  We'll only eat a couple pieces, so I'll freeze the others and pull them out another day. 

Remember to feel good.  And have courage.  A better day is coming. 

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Ice Box Noodle Stroganoff

This one of my camping meals.  You'll see the reason soon.  But it is equally helpful for those special nights when life has been beating you down all day and the kids need to eat.  This is the kind of meal that shuts kids up (and I mean that in the nicest way.)

Ice Box Stroganoff
Brown 1 lb of ground beef or less and drain off the fat.  Season with 1T dried minced onion and 1 t. dried garlic powder.  Add 2 T. Worcestershire Sauce and 3T. Red Wine. 

And a boat load of Crimini Mushrooms.  I love Crimini Mushrooms, the color, the texture.  They are so darn cute. I quarter them.  If I have less than a full lb of hamburger, I add more mushrooms and no one complains.

Now I cut a few more because my audience eats some of them.

Finally,  Mushrooms into the skillet with the meat and add a can of beef broth. 

Here's where it makes a good meal for camping.  Stop now and put the contents of the skillet in a zip lock bag.  Squeeze the air out and pat it into a nice square shape, then put it in the freezer to make a block of stroganoff ice. 

When you get ready to pack the ice box, take out the bag and use it as part of the ice in your ice box.  Pack the remaining ingredients:  1/2 a box of curly pasta and 1/2 c. sour cream.  

When you are ready to finish the dish, everything into the skillet to heat to a simmer and add the 1/2 box of pasta.  Yes, add them uncooked. 

Stir them to get them wet in the canned broth and continue cooking for 5 minutes, stirring fairly regularly.  If you stop stirring, cover the skillet with the lid to help steam the pasta.  Add a little water or broth if it starts to get dry, but I've been making this for years.  The noodles soften quickly. 

Finish the dish with 1/2 c. sour cream, 1/2 t. Salt., 1/4 t. fresh ground pepper.  Turn it with a big spoon to combine and continue cooking until heated through.  I like a little chopped parsley on top, but if you are camping or having a really bad day, that's optional. It's still creamy and bubbly, and makes the house smell good and brings them down to eat. 

Don't even talk to me about that boxed stuff.  Not real food, not less expensive, not more convenient.

Our lesson for today, kids:   This dish has several things in common with the last post:  Hamburger, which is a staple in your freezer.  Seasoning:  Having a well-stocked seasoning cabinet is important for this type of cooking.  Sour Cream, which I consider a necessity to always have in my frig. 
A basic canned good always on hand.  Basic staples from the pantry.  Real food in a hurry.   On to the side dish:  Brocolli cooked in beef broth with melted mozzarella cheese.  Husband and son will eat a pile of that. 

More on side dishes soon.  Now:  Knitting and the news.  Happy and warm family cuddled up together with full bellies.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Ground Beef Enchilada Casserole

I realize that everyone who reads this post cooks.  Otherwise, you would be reading something else.  I don't mean to insult anyone's skills or intelligence, but I am surprised and alarmed by the number of people of my acquintance who have troubles putting dinner on the table everynight without frozen entres and box mixes.  Most of us do not have the time for the pot roast or meat loaves popular in our mother's and grandmother's times on weeknights.  This is my thing.  Making sure that everyone around me, boys and girls, can make basic real food.  So here goes, another dinner for weeknights that comes out of the pantry and freezer with minimum time and effort but is flavorful and interesting enough to make them hurry to the table.

Each of the ingredients of this dish should already be in your pantry, frig, or freezer, hamburger in your freezer, tortillas, cheese and sour cream in your fridge, spices, salsa, corn in your pantry.  The next entry of this blog uses hamburger, sour cream, spices and cheese in a whole new direction.  A fully stocked pantry can make a million dishes, or at least quite a few.  Not expensive, quick, not hard. 

When I can cook for fun, I make what I want.  Tonight, the sooner I'm done the sooner I can knit and watch the news.

Beef Enchilada Casserole
1 lb ground beef,
2 t. mince dried onion.
1 t. salt
1 T. Chili powder
1/4 t garlic powder
1/2 c. water
 4 8" corn tortillsa
1 1/4 cup salsa
1 1/2 c. sour cream
1 can corn, drained
1 1/2 c mozzarella cheese grated.

In a large skillet, cook beef and drain any fat or liquid.  Add onion , salt, chili powder and garlic powder.  Mix and heat through. 

Add water and simmer for 3 - 5 minutes until liquid reduces and flavors combine. 

Meanwhile, slice tortilla into strips similar to lasagna noodles.  Set out salsa and sour cream.  Drain corn and grated cheese.

To assemble, spray 8 x 8 pan with cooking spray and pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Spread 3/4 c. meat on bottom of pan.  Add a layer of tortillas, 

then 1/2 can of drained corn.  Add 1/4 c. salsa, 1/2 c. meat and 1/2 c cheese, 1/2 sour cream.

Another layer of tortillas.  The other 1/2 can of corn.  1/2 c. salsa, 1/2 salsa, and a layer of the rest of the tortillas.  The rest of the meat, 1/4 c. cheese, 1/2 c. sour cream, cheese and 1/2 salsa. 

Bake at 350 degress for 25 minutes.  Husband says it would be good if served in a restaurant.  Son says it smells good.  Add a cooked vegetable.  What more do you want?

If you have left overs, package them up in lunch boxes where microwaves are available. 

Curly Noodle Ham Skillet

Recipes evolve for me over time.  They start out someone else's idea and morph into something that is mine.  This one is in the process of change.  Experiment with the type of noodles and sauce until you find what you like.  Substitute vegetables depending upon what your family likes or what you have. 

Curly Noodle Ham Skillet Dinner
1T. vegetable oil
1 carrot peeled and sliced
1 bell pepper
1 c. snap peas
1 1/2 c. mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 clove garlic minced
7.25 oz package of oriental style noodles
1/4 c water
1 1/2 T. Stir Fry sauce, your favorite kind
2 T. Soy sauce
2 C. fully cooked ham cut into bite size pieces

In a large skillet, heat the oil.  Add the carrot and pepper and move them around in the oil to coat.  Add the peas, mushrooms and garlic.  Add the water and bring to a simmerl.  Put a lid on the pan and cook for 3 - 5 minutes to soften and sweat the vegetables.  Remove the lid.

I'm using soft noodles purchased from the refrigerator eisle of the grocery.  I discard the seasoning packet.  It isn't real food. I'm not sure what it is. 

Add the noodles to the skiillet, the stir fry sauce and soy sauce, the ham and stir to combine and heat throughout.

Taste it and add more seasoning if you like.  Or serve with soy sauce or sweet chili sauce.  We enjoy this and I can produce it in less than 30 minutes on the nights I need a little help. .

Dinner's ready.  Time to knit and be happy.

Change is Good

Happy New Year to anyone who reads this.

At the start of 2010,  I find myself refreshed and optimistic. 

Last year was difficult for us in several ways, but I find myself looking forward to a better year coming up.

I find myself recommitted to working toward some long term goals, grateful for the life I have, happy to live in a world with the opportunity to make things happen for myself. Ready to move forward.