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!

Of cakes and kitties....

I have a true and very deep love for ornately decorated cakes... you know the ones, you see them all the time on food network, even TLC has "Cake Boss" and Duff... who can forget Duff and his amazing work... Now, I took my fair share of Wilton classes back in the day, and I've made a few cakes from time to time... so I wasn't at at total loss when my daughter decided she wanted this: 

to be her birthday cake this year... My first thought was to run screaming from the house, never to be heard from again, but then I changed my mind, and got to work... planning how this would go... and wondering how in a house with two teenage boys, two men, three cats and four dogs this cake would make it from baked to beautiful... in three days. 
What we had my friends was a recipe for disaster... 
It all started out really well -- see, here's my stuff: 

Look! Even little shoe forms! I was prepared I'm telling you! :)

so, we get down to brass tacks and see what we come up with... 

A shoe, coming right along!!!
They really did turn out beautifully, really.

It's a purse! a little tiny purse...

two towers and the mid section down... and I went to bed...everything stored nicely in boxes on the counter... 
I didn't count on cats... no I sure didn't...

And when I got up the next morning... all my work was ruined... 
Shoes crushed to oblivion, cake smashed in on itself... it was horrible.... I cried -- really sat and cried. 
but it didn't turn out too bad -- 

You can even see a little of how it was smashed in if you look close enough - no accounting for the behavior of cats...
but my daughter was happy:

In the end... that's all that really matters :)

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

A sampler... things from my kitchen

I think that I have established that I love to cook... and that I take pictures of what I cook, so I thought I would add few fun photos of food I've cooked, baked, decorated, or otherwise prepared... have fun looking, and drooling -- I hope. Feel free to ask for recipes if you want... I will eventually get around to making it again! :)

Dinner is my favorite meal... that comes from growing up with a grandmother who cooked a full on dinner every single night... even when serving a one-dish meal like a casserole, she had to make side dishes to go with... and bread, always bread... good times for sure! 
Here are a few dinner pictures for ya! 

mmmmm......beef and mushroom stew, oh so good!

green bean casserole, you are my love! bacon, green beans, cheese... oh what's not to love! 

the bird... Thanksgiving dinner -- my homemade from scratch cornbread dressing inside all yummy... there's some in a bowl over on the right... oh what a night! 

delightfully yummy, creamy and good coffee punch... sipped all day on Thanksgiving and Christmas... and put to good use throughout the winter as a little 'pick-me-up'!

See, like I said, I practice on the kids... except sometimes they don't get any -- as in the case of the coffee punch... too much caffeine for my brood! but the big kids loved it ;)

I will share all of these recipes and more as I wander through my kitchen wondering 'what's for dinner'? I will share triumphs, and possibly failures... it all depends. Of course at some point I must share the "Story of the Sweet 16 Cake"... it's a true tear jerker involving 23 hours of work decimated in less than 2.2 seconds... and cats -- it involves lovely fur-babies....

this one...

my sons incredibly spoiled and food savvy cat....

And my daughter's intrepid "starey" cat as we like to call him... he's also elusive and has yet to allow his photo to be taken by anyone. in three years.

My son's cat, however, as you can see loves the camera almost as much as he loves food, and that's saying a lot...

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