It worked in my favor, because I kept smelling something going bad in there and was able to immediately pin point the cause. It's not so good, though because it will be harder to get my family to eat at home without a stock of leftovers. I may have to break my "no cooking on weekends" cardinal rule, yet again.
Yesterday I threw a frozen beef roast in the crockpot with the kind of bullion my Cooking Buddy always used. This is unusual for me, as I usually only have chicken broth, which I will (horror upon horrors) use for beef dishes. I also threw in onions and garlic. Then I just roasted some yams, potatoes and green beans for the side dish.
This is the amazing part: When I pulled the beef out of the crockpot, the broth just called for me to make gravy out of it. "Gravy," as my youngest says, "is the bane of mom's existence." I make it anyway and no one ever complains about my lackluster results. But last night, my Cooking Buddy took over and I poured the broth in a pot, set the burner on high, dipped a measuring cup in for a bit of broth to mix some flour in, mixed in a half a cup of flour, then when the broth started to boil, I slowly stirred in the flour mixture and the gravy immediately thickened up.
Whoa! Where did that come from? I didn't even ponder how to make it, it really was like m Cooking Buddy took over my body and made the gravy for me. To non-cooks, this is probably no big deal, but ask my family - it's a big deal for mom's gravy to turn out. We should have all stood around the gravy pot and sacrificed some lambs or something.
Anyway, back to reality: I've got some great recipes for you this week. I'll get right to it as I've got places to go today - meaning the craft and hobby retreat.
This is the bean recipe I made on Saturday, when in my desperate bid to get the family to eat at home I broke my weekend cooking policy. It's so filling my husband took a two cup plastic container of it to work and it lasted him almost three days. I'm not sure why I hadn't posted this one before, because it's from my Cooking Buddy's stash, which I know because I bought liquid smoke just for this purpose. But I couldn't find it when I searched for it (Did you know just to the right here under the paragraph introducing "Coffee with Gleigh" there is a search engine?).
Log Cabin Beat Pot
Brown and drain: 1 lb ground beef
1 lb bacon
Put in crockpot or large pot and add:
1 cup chopped onion
1 16 oz can pork and beans, don't drain
1 16 oz can butter beans, don't drain
1 16 oz can kidney beans, don't drain
[I also added a can of lima beans, green beans, wax bean and black beans]
1 cup catsup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbs liquid smoke
3 Tbs white vinegar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Cook in a crockpot 4-6 hours on low or simmer on stovetop for 1 hour.
This next one I can't remember where I found it and I think I made it once before, but didn't have all the ingredients, so it didn't make much of an impression. Because it was one of the recipes I pulled out a couple weeks ago for "ghosts of dinners future," I bought what I needed when I was shopping last week. It was scrumptious and my family went crazy for it.
Pasta with Sausage, Roasted Peppers & Spinach
2 1/4 cups (6 oz) Raditore, Rotelle, or Mostaccioli [whatever those are, I could never find them. I either use Penne or Rigatoni]
1/2 lb sweet Italian sausage links, cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 med onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (16 oz) can stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 (7 1/2 oz jar roasted red peppers, sliced
3 cups torn fresh spinach or 1 (10 oz) pkg frozen spinach, thawed and well drained
Grated Parmesan (optional)
- Cook pasta.
- Meanwhile, in large skillet, cook sausage, onion and garlic 6 minutes over med-high heat, stirring occasionally. Drain.
- Stir in tomatoes and peppers. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low. Simmer uncovered 4 minutes.
- Stir in spinach, cook 1 minute or until heated through.
- Serve over pasta with cheese [I stirred the pasta in the whole thing with the cheese]
I doubled this recipe so there would be enough for leftovers. It fed all five of us with about three or four helpings left over. It only lasted until about 11:00am the next day, though.
However, my most proud cooking moment in the past week (okay, aside from the channeling of dead people) is making my Grandfather's borscht recipe. My mother used to make borscht when I was a kid, but there are many ways to make it. I had always thought of it as a beet soup, because my mother always made it with just beets and I hated it. I liked beets, but a big bowl of red soup for dinner was beyond my beet comfort zone.
After I was first married, I going to school for a certificate course in technical writing at a satellite college in a city north of where I worked. It wasn't worth going south to go back home and then back to school after work, so I started going to my grandfather's those two or three days a week I had classes.
He cooked dinner for me and we chatted. My grandmother had passed away a couple years before. It was wonderful to have these moments with my grandfather. He wasn't much of a talker, but without anyone else interfering in our time, we were able to establish a close bond.
Anyway, he made me borscht one night. Wow! That wasn't the borscht I had come to know and hate. That borscht was amazing. When I told him what I knew of borscht, he laughed and said, "That's crazy, it's really a cabbage soup rather than a beet soup."
So I wrote the ingredients down and it was one of the recipes I found that day I scrounged my stash. The directions are cryptic and think I made it once shortly after he gave me the recipe and I hadn't made it since. So I can't really remember how he did it exactly.
Two soup bones [Marked "soup bone" at the grocery store, who knew?]
Onions - 1/2 fair sized, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 carrots, chopped
1-2 spuds [that's what he called them], diced
Head of cabbage, chopped
16 oz can tomatoes, not stewed
Can of beets, diced
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbs vinegar
Beef boullion to taste
Little barley (optional)
Elbow Macaroni (optional)
Boil the soup bones for 2 hour in enough water to cover - moderate boil, adding more water as needed.
Okay, I'm not sure if the boil is only for the soup bones, which I did. Unlike boiling chicken or turkey, it didn't seem to add much to the water. It did loosen the meat off the bones, because I bought soup bones with meat, although I did add stew meat later.
After the bones were boiled, I just threw everything else in the pot. Then followed the last cryptic line: Boil, turn down, boil until tender.
This. Was. Amazing!
It so happened the girls brought home a couple friends after school that Friday and they all went crazy for it and even had seconds. This made a huge pot of soup, that I was glad to have with all the extra people. We just finished it up yesterday.
What a way to launch a phenomenal cooking week. I mean, this ain't your Grandpa's borscht... Uh, I guess it is!