Friday, April 23, 2010

Meatloaf and Broccoli with creamy cheese sauce

Wow, it's been a little while since I posted something to cook! So, I dusted of my camera, charged up some batteries, removed the 100000000 dog pictures from my memory card... and I hopped to it in the kitchen! Full meal tonight guys - hopefully complete with the best sheet cake ever that I posted about last week = chocolate decadence at its finest (and easiest)!

So, here we go!
Magimoms Meatloaf

What you need: 
Ground beef - 3 - 5 lbs (depending on your crew)
Garlic - 3 cloves
Bread crumbs
3 eggs
Worcestershire sauce
Dijon Mustard (I use Grey Poupon cause it makes me feel all rich and stuff)
Salt and Pepper 

Preheat oven to 325.

Crumble ground beef into a large bowl (make sure its big enough for everything, plus your hands). Mince garlic - either in your food processor or by hand. 

Add garlic to ground beef.Add everything else - yep, dump it all in there!

Using your hands - yes, I said your hands (preferably freshly washed hands) to knead mixture together until ground beef holds together well when compressed:

Shape into loaves and place in 8x12 or 9x13 baking dish. 
Coat loaves with a layer of ketchup:

Place loaves in preheated oven for about an hour. 

When done, remove from oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes before slicing. This allows the juices to settle, and the meatloaf holds together better

After cooling, remove to platter and slice

Broccoli and Creamy Cheese Sauce
What you need: 
Broccoli (about 1lb fresh or frozen) Steamed
I use frozen and put it in my steamer basket and cook until tender. 

3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 c milk
1 c shredded cheddar cheese. 
Melt butter over low heat. Remove from heat and add flour, salt and pepper stir until well blended and smooth.

Add milk and stir until smooth. 

Return to heat and heat milk to simmer stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Mixture will be thick and bubbly. Add cheese and stir until melted. 

Spoon over broccoli as desired. Can also (discovered at dinner) be used on potatoes, and I plan to use the leftovers over pasta for my lunch tomorrow! 
Served with "dirty mashed potatoes", this makes for a hearty meal!
From the kitchen of a mom, with lots of love! Magimom

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Hooboy... this ought to be good! Breadmaking 101

It has been a little while since I actually did anything 'step-by-step' on here, but tonight might be different. I'm doing a dinner that I've been wanting to share on here for a while, and if my camera will cooperate I just might get it done today... but also, I'm going to try my hand at some Lucky Four-Leaf Clover rolls from over at the Tasty Kitchen Blog. I love this place, it's full of reader submitted recipes and reviews of recipes! It is part of The Pioneer Woman site, which I've already admitted to being addicted to, and worth a look-see if you're fresh out of ideas for dinner, a party, or dessert - hell just about anything.

Tonight, I'm making a Cheesy Rotini Bake, made with... wait for it... hehe... you'll never guess?!?!... 

Rotini and Cheese! HA - you would never have figured it out... so yeah, anyway I use three types (or two, or four, just depends on what I have/want) of cheese usually - Monterey Jack, Cheddar, and Velveeta. I have also been known to toss in Mozarella, Ricotta, or plain American cheeses when I needed a little boost. It's a great dinner that kids love, and that's good around here because my kids are damned picky eaters and if i can find something they'll eat thirds of, I've made a winner. 
So, Cheesy Rotini Bake, and Lucky Four-Leaf Clover rolls, brushed with garlic and Italian butter.  We'll see how this works with the camera - otherwise, I'll just post the recipe later. 

From the kitchen of a mom, with lots of love!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Oh, holy crap Pioneer Woman!

So, I joined the ranks of Pioneer Woman cooks in the last year, I know I've talked about her before on my blog. Well, in the last two weeks, I've made two different desserts from her kitchen, and I can only say one thing... HOLY CRAP Pioneer Woman! It's a wonder Marlboro Man doesn't weigh 500 lbs! And how she keeps her girlish figure eating like this and this I don't know!!!

My girl and I made the Carrot Cake to take with us on our vacation. We wound up dividing it between us and bringing our half home, because the guests expected didn't arrive until after we left. But when we got home and DEVOURED our half - I can only say HOLY CRAP Pioneer Woman!!!! That was the sweetest, moistest (is that really a word???), most heavenly carrot cake I've ever eaten. I don't normally like carrot cake... but this one, this one I fell in love with. I even tinted the frosting with a bit of my Wilton frosting colors, in orange, for the holiday! The cake was simply to die for. 
Then yesterday... ahhhh yesterday, in a chocolate craving fit I started digging through PW's cookbook because I KNEW that I'd seen a cake in there I wanted to try... So last night I found all my ingredients, except buttermilk, which I was able to fix with a tip from PW; and I baked the Best. Chocolate. Sheetcake. EVER! Ok, I've said it before... I will say it again - HOLY CRAP Pioneer Woman! 
This cake is totally the best cake I've ever made. It filled me with pride as the family sunk their teeth into the chocolate decadence on their plates. It also filled me with a deep nostalgia... for this woman: 

Yes, the lady there in the glasses, holding a smiling mischievous baby? That my friends is my grandmother... She was a constant in my life from birth. My grandparents stoically followed my mother everywhere. I know now that it was more a case of my grandmother could not possibly live anywhere my mother wasn't... so she dragged my grandfather with her wherever we moved. It started out the other way around... in the early days of their marriage, and my mother's youth my grandfather was a Shrimp Boat Captain. In fact, I am named after his favorite Shrimp Boat, the Elizabeth Ann...  Yep, I'm named after a boat! Meh... anyway - my grandmother stayed home when mom was young.. then when mom and dad married, and daddy started shrimping with grandpa, we followed them. From Fort Myers, FL to Corpus Christi, Texas. Stopping for a while here and there in towns like Mobile, Alabama and Cameron , Louisiana. 
Grandma was there from day one, and if I wasn't with mom and dad, I was with her. She was such a wonderful soul, and she died an unfair and tragic death... and I miss her horribly. But I remember the food! 
Grandma made this very same cake when I was a kid... I don't know how PW got it perfect, but she did... and for that I say a hearty  THANK YOU Pioneer Woman - you awoke one of my fondest memories with this cake... It makes you truly understand the power of food in our lives! 

From the kitchen of a mom, with lots of love!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Hamburger Steak in Pepper Gravy

Tonight was another of those 'before the big grocery' run nights. 
So, I decided to make use of the nearly month's worth of hamburgers left in the freezer. I generally buy a big box of the premade patties, just so we have quick dinners once in a while, and it's cheaper than buying the Tupperware stuff that makes and stores them, since I'd have to have like a kajillion of them! Anyway... digression again... seems to be something I do well

So, I took some frozen hamburger patties

I seasoned them with salt, pepper, and garlic powder -- generous on the pepper, but then, I like pepper!

And I cooked them until they were done... and then, I drained the grease. Meanwhile, I cheated... 

Somebody gave me this stuff, and I figured I didn't want it to go to waste... and honestly, it was worth it! this stuff was GOOD.... so I followed the directions on the package, which entails boiling 1 cup of water, adding the package of gravy mix to another cup of water, mixing well and then adding the mixture to the boiling water... twice, because I used two of these bad boys... 
Now, normally, the pepper gravy is made from scratch, with flour and pepper, and milk, lots of milk... but it's "between grocery store run's" time and we're using up what's in the cabinets, you know... 

So when this stuff is all nice and thick and bubbly... 

I add it to the pan the burgers are waiting in...


 Now, during the time I was making the burgers, and the gravy, I was also making four cups of rice.  Two 'hamburger steaks' some rice, this lovely gravy, and some corn... and you have dinner!


I don't know what this cat wants...

But I'm pretty sure it's got to do with washing my dishes...

Or maybe, just maybe, he'll take out the trash...

And for one more quick update, my kitchen reno has begun... and while I'm not getting anything *new* I am rearranging things to suit how my kitchen flows and my new interest in photographing everything I cook! 
Watch my progress over at Mom Stuff!

From the kitchen of a mom, with lots of love!

A little bit of Bar-B-Q!

Sorry that no photos will accompany this post... 1. my kitchen is in the middle of a massive remodel, and it's a feat to even find counter space for the crock pot right now. 2. this was not a meal  I expected to post, simple because it's a quick, easy, CHEAP meal used to fill in between grocery runs. 

So... as I have talked about before -- I have a penchant for giant pork roasts... I get 20 - 30 lbs of pork loin a month at my local grocery store for about 1.20 a lb. It's good, low fat meat, that can be cooked as many ways as chicken can, if you're willing to experiment. I purchased one of these earlier, and had only used two of the three roasts it made. Sooooo, feeling lazy yesterday, and out of milk for potato soup, I decided to put the roast in the crock pot. But I'm not necessarily fond of 'boiled' pork... nothing about cooking pork in the crock pot appeals to me for some odd reason. But the crock pot and pork roast were all I had...
So -- 3 lb pork roast, fat removed 
2 bottles honey bbq sauce (or some of my son Jon's incredible homemade sauce, which I used)
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce. 
salt, pepper, and garlic powder 
1 tsp mustard
water to cover

With crock pot on high empty one bottle of barbecue sauce into the pot (don't throw it out yet!). Season your roast well, then add it to the crock pot, refill sauce bottle with water, shake well and add water to cover the roast. 

Cover and turn up on high. Cook 5 -6 hours until roast starts to separate. Separate roast with pair of forks until pork is shredded. If your sauce is very watery (like mine was) remove about 1/2 of the juice from the pot, and replace it with the other bottle of sauce. Cook for about 15-20 more minutes to thoroughly heat the sauce. 
Toast hamburger buns, or deli rolls in the oven, on about 350 for 10-12 minutes or until heated through and lightly toasted. 

Using a slotted spoon (important, your sauce will soak the bun if you don't use a slotted spoon) top the bun with pork, and add any condiment you choose -- some things I've seen used, or used myself? - Mayo, coleslaw, honey mustard, miracle whip, horseradish sauce  (my personal favorite -- gives it a super zing)!

This turned out so awesome I had to share -- sorry about the lack of photos, but soon my kitchen will be done, and my camera will have batteries (if I have to knock the SO out to get them out of the Xbox controller), and I will be more able to cook and photograph again! 

Have a wonderful, warm day, and enjoy some crock-pot barbecue.

From the kitchen of a mom, with lots of love!

Friday, January 29, 2010

A Taste of What's to Come

I'm hoping that everyone enjoy's the new layout -- I do, of course, it's likely not to stay long -- I like change in things sometimes, especially those things under which I have control! 
So, like I said yesterday I had an idea that included pork... and today that idea has come further on in my mind to a more fully fledged dish idea, which I will be cooking tonight, and photographing. Then I'll post it here for your pleasure. 

In the mean time I have a game plan that includes the launch of a new blog that deals with all things domestic. I have lots of experience -- been a mom for almost 26 years -- that gives me hope! 

Just know that soon, you can read my opinions on everything from baby powder to pre-cooked bacon (let me just say -- no). For now, that is all -- see you at dinner time! 

From the kitchen of a mom, with lots of love!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Upcoming Stuff

Well, I suppose it's been a little while, and the only thing you've seen new is the  Potato Soup recipe I posted a couple of days ago. So... I thought I would let you know that Magimom is still in her kitchen, and cooking away. One of the things I plan to try on the monsters is a pork dish I've been tossing around in my head... as you know I have a thing for pork... *sigh* especially bacon... but I digress. This is for a pork loin (tenderloin). I'm thinking of slicing it some what thinly like I would for pork stir-fry... ooo something else to think about! Anyway, off track again... so, thin sliced pork... some cream of mushroom soup... some rice... some green onions -- and maybe even some chicken broth -- who knows where this is going to go, but it's going somewhere I'm sure. I just hope it's not the garbage can. We're working on a shoestring budget until it resets the first of the month, and I'm thinking of a series of "cooking on a shoestring" type menu/recipes for the month. We'll see too, where that might take us. I hope somewhere warm and cozy, because it's cold around here... 

And since I've left you with nothing to look at this week -- here's a sweet little image from my house: Our new friend -- Flufficus Maximus

Ignore the crazy lady in pajamas holding him -- she stops by every morning and drinks my coffee...

From the kitchen of a mom, with lots of love!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Down but not Out

Has been a rough couple of weeks for Magimom... and I'm sorry I've not posted new food. Tonight I'm thinking of some Tilapia fillets (my favorite non-fishy fish), home made cornbread, and grits for dinner. Yes, very southern... and I DO know what a Grit is... and yes, very good!
Since I've not done much in the way of cooking the last couple of weeks -- I will feed your desire for recipes with one of my tried and true favorites... Magimom's Tons of Taters Potato soup. This stuff sticks to the ribs, the pot, the spoon, and the sides of your sink.. just kidding, but it is truly a wonderful wintertime comfort food, and it has my favorite meat -- bacon in it! :) Enjoy!
This soup is HEAVY, and is typically exceptionally thick. Remember I cook for 7 or 8 most of the time, so my recipes are always for LARGE groups. Most of them you can cut in half for the normal family... so without further ado...

8-10 lbs Idaho Potatoes washed and cubed with peel on (you can remove the peel if you want, I don't since that's where all the nutrition is, and I'm incredibly lazy)
1 lb bacon fried and crumbled
4 cans green beans (sm size) if using the medium cans 2 will usually do it
1/2 gallon milk
1/2 lb butter
Mashed potato flakes as needed to thicken
Pepper to taste
Salt to taste
Garlic to taste

Wash and cube potatoes and place in LARGE stockpot with enough water to cover. Add salt, pepper, and garlic to taste -- I use a LOT of pepper because I like it a little more "spicy".Bring to boil and cook until potatoes begin to soften.
Fry, drain, and crumble bacon. I like to cut my bacon in half in the package before cooking, it is easier to get more in the pan that way, and I'm all about EASY in the kitchen!
Once potatoes start to soften (about 30-35 minutes in) add green beans with their juice -- open the can and dump it in... again, LAZY woman here... actually, the green bean liquid adds a great flavor to the soup.
Add the bacon crumbled to the pot... Now, I add my bacon drippings too... but that's just me and I like a lot of that smoky flavor in my soup.If you are watching your weight you can use turkey bacon, and drain it well prior to using and it cuts the fat WAY down.
Add butter -- I know, 1/2 lb of butter sounds like a LOT... I typically use margarine, and I add it until my soup is a nice soft yellow color, which usually takes about 1/2 to 1 cup but can be as much as 1/2 lb. This recipe is totally an "as you like it" type thing so change up what you need to for the desired effect!
Add milk... this can be as much as 1/2 gallon, or more if you'd like... Remember, milk thickens some as it cooks and potatoes have that wonderful natural starch that also does it's own thickening. Return soup to boil, be careful here -- milk will scald and taste "burnt" if you boil too hard from this point on. I usually keep my burner around 4 or so from now on and have been known to turn it down to 2. Cook until potatoes are soft and falling apart. You know the texture we typically use for mashed potatoes, that's what we want here, nice and THICK!
I normally let mine sit at this temp for about 30 - 45 minutes so it gets nice and creamy thick. If you aren't getting the thickness due to too much milk, butter, or the bacon drippings -- go ahead and add 1 cup at a time some mashed potato flakes. You can't tell they're in there and they add a nice thickness to the soup. Once your soup reaches the desired thickness serve in warm bowls or soup cups with a sprinkle of FRESH parsley or chives on top... My kids also love a little cheddar cheese on top too!
To store: remove from heat and let stand 1 hour. Remove soup from pot and place in storage containers. If soup is still very hot (for some reason potatoes retain heat very well) leave the lids unsealed on your containers until soup stops steaming. NEVER put hot soup in the fridge! The milk can sour. Refrigerated this lasts about 3 days, frozen up to 4 months. 

Hopefully this will add some warmth on the winter days still ahead! Enjoy :) 

And if you are interested in what has Magimom so out of sorts lately, check out my other blog Story of a Life.

From the kitchen of a mom, with lots of love!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Garlic Roasted New Poatoes

This was the side dish used with the Garlic Stuffed Pork Roast with Pepper Bacon Crust. I love it because I can basically fire and forget with this recipe, and the kiddos love it! Which isn't easy when it comes to potatoes and my kids -- if they're not fried and delivered to them in a red box they don't really want them...

The participants: 
Red (New) potatoes
Garlic 1-2 cloves (3 if you love garlic)
Green onion tops (I still had these from my Cheese stuffed shells)
Preheat oven to 350... if you are making these with the pork roast, you can cook them on the same temperature as the roast -- just make sure that you check them frequently, and don't put them until the roast has only 45 minutes left.
Wash and dry potatoes.

Cut your potatoes into apx 1 in chunks. 

Chop your garlic and onion... this time I cheated... 

My new best friend in the kitchen... I love you Black&Decker!

Two quick pulses - and chopped garlic! Oh my hands are thankful! I added my onion to this and did another couple of quick pulses to get the right consistency...
Add onion and garlic to potatoes.

Pour about 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the garlic and onion, then stir around to coat potatoes well with all the yummy onion and garlic. The oil helps the spices to stick to the potatoes, as well as allowing for some browning in the oven. 

Add salt and pepper to taste and stir again to get it all mixed and coated. Cover with foil and pop in the oven -- if you're making with the roast, remember you don't want the potatoes to burn so you'll want to watch them closely. 
If you are baking at 325 leave in the oven covered for 1 hour. Uncover one corner and check your potatoes, they should fall apart when the fork looks at them crooked... When they're done, remove from oven.

Please be very careful removing the foil -- there is a LOT of steam in there and it will burn you! 

And this was dinner: 

There you have it... Garlic Stuffed Pork Roast with Pepper Bacon Crust & Garlic Roasted New Potatoes! Hope you enjoy!! 

From the kitchen of a mom, with lots of love!

Garlic Stuffed Pork Roast with Pepper Bacon Crust

Tonights dinner is another "old" favorite... I love pork roast, probably because it spent so much of it's life next to the bacon... :)

Down to business... Here's the gang: (rather short/easy list tonight) preheat oven to 425 degrees...
3-5 lb pork roast (I always use the tender loin)
1/2 lb bacon (yep, you knew I'd get around to it sooner or later, didn't you)??
Garlic (2-3 cloves depending on size of roast) If you happen to slice up too much, don't despair -- make the potatoes! 

Just a note here - this is a 5 lb roast - I paid $7.92 for it and we didn't even eat half the roast. Normally I buy a 20-lb roast and divide it into three equal portions... this was on sale at Walmart for $1.48 a lb!!! 
Wash and dry your roast -- imperative! I never, ever cook meat that I don't wash unless it's ground or tenderized... just a safety precaution. Be sure to trim any thick fat from the roast - I always leave a thin layer for better flavor.
With a serrated (steak) knife punch holes throughout the roast (fat side up).

See all the holes? Lots of holes -- the more the better! I usually poke the knife in and twist a couple of times to ensure the hole stays visible.

Now for the garlic

Hi there garlic cloves... do you know how much I love you??? 

Slice the garlic from tip to tail: 

If you chopped instead of sliced and your garlic does not look like the above picture -- put the chopped aside for the potatoes and slice some! 

Stuff the garlic in the holes -- all of them, and fill 'em up!

Make sure every hole has garlic in it

See the garlic peeking out? It's OK for it to peek out, it will settle in soon enough... for we are about to give the garlic a lovely blanket... of pepper!

Sprinkle a decent layer of pepper over the roast to cover. Remember this is a Pepper Bacon crust we're making so be generous! 

Add salt to taste, remember you can be generous...your roast will love you for it... 

Bacon... where did you come from? Did you know it was your turn??
Notice that I've halved the bacon slices, half a slice is a more manageable size...use however many pieces you need to cover the top of your roast.

Cover the entire top of the roast -- look at all that pepper in my pan... oh if I were making gravy this stuff would be awesome! 
Cover pan with foil and place in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes per pound. 

About 30 minutes before the cook time ends, remove the foil and pour 1/2 cup water gently over the bacon - this allows the juices to drip into the pan and makes for wonderful gravy!

Some of my garlic tried to escape... that's fine, it's not going far!
Remove the roast from the oven and allow to stand about 5 minutes before slicing -- this allows the meat to 'set up' and makes it very juicy!

Slice and enjoy! 

Oh yum! You can see some garlic there... oh this roast is good!

From the kitchen of a mom, with lots of love!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Cheese Stuffed Shells and Garlic Cheese Toast

Tonight's dinner was a tried and true favorite... a comfort food if you will. I'm not a huge "Italian" food fan; I prefer white sauce to red, and not so much oregano, rosemary, and thyme... but this dish has my heart and soul... I LOVE cheese... and lots of it, and this dish gives me just that... 

To start off you need the following items: 
1 box jumbo shells - cooked according to package directions (more on that later)
4 8oz cans spaghetti sauce (any kind -- we're going to dress it up, so the milder the better)
3 lbs. ground beef
2 cloves garlic chopped
5 green onions chopped - separate the onion from the top green part (the green is saved for tomorrow night's stuffed mushrooms)
8 oz mozzarella cheese
Parmesan cheese
2 lb ricotta cheese
2 eggs 

Brown and drain ground beef. Add 1 tbs butter to center of pan and melt, toss onion and chopped garlic in and stir to brown a little. Mix onion and garlic into ground beef and cook for about 4 minutes to meld the flavor. Add salt and pepper to taste and about 2 tbs Italian seasoning (your choice here). 

Add the sauce and stir well. 

Turn heat to simmer and allow to cook while you are preparing the shells. 

Drain and dry shells. 

Gently beat eggs and add ricotta and mozzarella to the mix.

For a little added zing, I toss a handful of the onion tops I reserved in with this mixture. You'll want this to hold together fairly well. 

Spoon a thin layer of sauce in bottom of baking dish - 13x9 is best and probably won't hold all the shells, but that's OK -- because you're going to run out of cheese first... 

Next grab up one of those shells, scoop a spoonful of the cheese mixture and stuff it in... put the shells in a single layer (usually about 4-5 in a row) in your baking dish.

Repeat until you run out of cheese or room... 
Look at them there, all snug together... just waiting to be my dinner! 
If needed use an additional pan.When all shells are stuffed, spoon the remaining sauce over the shells.  

Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese to lightly cover. 

Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

Goodbye my loves... I will see you soon!
Now, while the shells are cooking you can start on the garlic toast. 

You'll need the following: 
1 loaf French-bread, sliced
1 stick butter
Garlic powder
Chopped chives

Soften butter in microwave for 30 seconds, add garlic powder to taste and chopped chives. 

Mix well until mixture forms a nice pasty consistency.

Dip one side of each bread slice in butter mixture to coat and place butter side up on baking sheet. 

Sprinkle a little mozzarella on each slide of toast. 

Oh,look... my shells are ready... nice timing! 

Bake at 350 for about 5 minutes or until cheese starts to melt. Turn on the broiler and watch for the cheese to bubble and bread to brown, lightly. 

Remove and serve immediately. 

So... there you have it -- simple, good, and a real family pleaser! 

From the kitchen of a mom, with lots of love!