Thursday, December 30, 2010

WFD? 12/30

Homemade cheeseburgers and Ore-Ida fast fries.

Because sometimes we need meat and potatoes for dinner.

Monday, December 27, 2010

WFD? 12/27

Tacos a la Cucos!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

WFD? 12/26

Leftovers. We had barbecued pork, a bit of chili, and some turkey and mashed potatoes left from the past few days. It was a good day to empty out the fridge and get ready for a new week.

My kids stepped up to the plate this Christmas. I have had a nasty cold for the past couple of weeks and had some Relief Society jobs that took a lot of my time and energy and so I hadn't got around to decorating the house for Christmas. While Karie was here I baked the gingerbread and she and the boys decorated a gingerbread house for us. I think it turned out quite spectacularly.

Jake kept after me to put up the Christmas tree. I finally got around to hauling it down out of its storage spot and putting it together, and Jake and James put the ornaments on it while I rested. While I was gone somewhere Jake hung up all the stockings on the mantle and put out all the rest of our Christmas decorations around the house. I was pretty well shocked and amazed and so grateful for the great job he did - he obviously has been paying attention all these years and knew exactly where everything goes.

I am thankful that I have such wonderful family and friends who love me in spite of my shortcomings, and help me when I'm overwhelmed and faltering.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

WFD? 12/25

Cracked pepper turkey tenderloin, mashed yukon gold potatoes with turkey gravy, and buttered peas.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 24, 2010

WFD? 12/24

Walraven family tradition = chili on Christmas Eve.

Most years it's homemade but this year it is canned Wolf brand Homestyle chili with beans, plus shredded cheddar and saltine crackers.

(It was spicy and good. And super easy on a busy day. Canned chili on Christmas Eve sounds like a valid tradition, doesn't it? What do you think?)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

WFD? 12/23

Fish chowder and winter salad.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

WFD? 12/22

I've had a killer headache all day. I don't know what the problem is, but I've been pretty sure all day long that cooking dinner isn't going to solve it.

Frozen pizza it is.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

WFD? 12/21

Barbecued pork sandwiches, sort of.

It's not really barbecued pork. It's a pork roast, cooked all day in the crockpot with some finely diced onion and a bottle of barbecue sauce, then shredded and piled on a kaiser roll.

It's good, even if it's not really barbecue.

Monday, December 20, 2010

WFD? 12/20

This morning I knew it was going to be a long and busy day. As I stood gazing into the freezer and refrigerator and contemplating dinner tonight I knew that a big shopping trip was going to be added to my to-do list. There just isn't a lot there.

I found a recipe that calls for everything I have on hand. Hooray! So this morning into the crockpot went the last bits of this and that. Chicken and Sausage Gumbo smells fabulous. I haven't eaten it yet, but judging by the smell wafting through my house, it's definitely going into our regular dinner rotation.

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo (from my BH&G New Cook Book, page 544)
Make a roux with:
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup all purpose flour
Cook on medium-high heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Lower heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, for 15 more minutes or until dark reddish-brown in color. (I stopped after 10 minutes because I got nervous). Cool.
In a crockpot combine 3 cups water (I used 1 cup water and two cups chicken stock because I had some in the fridge that needed to be used up) and cooled roux. Add:
12 oz. cooked smoked turkey sausage links, cut up (I used a package of skinless polska kielbasa because that's what I had)
1 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken or 12 oz. skinless, boneless chicken pieces (I chopped up 5 thawed, boneless chicken tenders because, again, that's what I had)
2 cups sliced okra (None for me, thanks. I think okra is one of those things that you have to either grow up eating or learn to love. I haven't done either.)
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green sweet pepper (I used 1/2 of both a red and a green sweet bell pepper because I had them leftover from fajitas the other day and needed to use them up)
1/2 cup chopped celery
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
Stir it all together, put the cover on the crockpot, and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours, or on high for 3 to 3 1/2 hours. (I usually start the crockpot on high for an hour or so just to get it really going good, then turn it to low for the rest of the day.) Serve over hot cooked rice.

What I really love about my crockpot is that I can put food in there in the morning when I have a few minutes, and get everything cleaned up, and then late in the afternoon when I'm tired and maybe a little hassled and grouchy, dinner is ready but the kitchen is clean. Ahhhh...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

WFD? 12/19

It's been a strange few days. I've been sick for about a week, but haven't had the chance to slow down and rest long enough to get over it. We had Relief Society on Thursday night, went out to a Chinese buffet for dinner on Friday night to celebrate James' birthday, and ended up with drive-through burgers on Saturday night.

Tonight I made crepes and filled them with the raspberry jam Karie and I made a month or so ago. They were delish, and by the end I was able to flip them with the pan instead of a spatula which was quite fun. Jake complained that he didn't like the "cranberry" and so if I ever make them again, he'll have them plain or with some maple syrup.

Although they were good, it took an inordinately long time to make them. They won't be on a regular rotation for that reason.

PS: that is not my pic, but that is exactly what my crepes looked like tonight.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

WFD? 12/15

A haiku:

Chicken fajita
Low-fat white meat with veggies
Bring on the dairy

Because you know a fajita is just not the same without sour cream and cheese. You do know that, right?

Tonight I seasoned the chicken with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. In the past I've used Montreal steak seasoning but this was super good and I think I will do it this way from now on. The steak seasoning has a little too much dill or something to really hit the Tex-Mex place on the taste buds.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

WFD? 12/14

Campbell's soup and grilled cheese sandwiches.

Which in this house is one step above "find yourself something to eat".

Monday, December 13, 2010

WFD? 12/13

I had a super long and busy day today, so we needed something quick and easy.


My current favorite sauce is Ragu Sweet Tomato Basil. I add 1 lb. ground beef, well browned and seasoned with salt and pepper, and 1/4 of a large yellow onion, diced smallish.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

WFD? 12/12

Last night when we got home from Austin and Avery D's fab birthday party we sort of grazed for dinner. There wasn't any cooking except for Jake's scrambled egg and pancakes.

Today was cold and dry. Which always does a number on my skin - I'm dry and flaky, and there are spots on my hands, elbows, and feet that feel like they might crack open. They say a little oil in your diet will help condition your skin, so dinner tonight was all about fried.

Tilapia fillets pan-fried in olive oil, and red-skinned potatoes, green beans, and carrots sauteed in sage and parsley-infused canola oil.


Friday, December 10, 2010

WFD? 12/10

For me it was Tacos a la Cucos. At my favorite Mexican restaurant. No cooking for me today.

Instead I did some shopping and made a super cute pillowcase for my niece C for Christmas. It's been a busy day. Some days the phone rings about 30 times.

Tomorrow is Buttercup's birthday party! That tiny and oh-so-sweet little girl will be ONE in a just a few days. Can you believe it?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

WFD? 12/9 - recycling

Or, leftovers.

I reheated the pot roast in a saucepan with some of the gravy - it helped the meat stay moist and tender while reheating. For the leftover carrot, sliced onions, and potatoes I put them in a baking dish, smashed them just a little bit with a fork, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. I baked it at 450 degrees for about 25 minutes.

Oh. My. Goodness. I saw this trick on Jamie Oliver's show the other day. He parboiled his potatoes and then roasted them in the oven.

My veggies were already cooked the other day in the crockpot, so of course they didn't need parboiling. The edges of the carrot and potatoes became crusty and crunchy, and the sliced onion bits turned crispy. From now on I will always add lots of extra veg to the crockpot specifically to make this later.

Add some green beans, and dinner is served:

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

WFD? 12/8

Turtle Rice and Beef Enchilada Casserole.

This morning I:
  • cooked the rice
  • chopped all the veggies/herbs for the rice
  • cooked the ground beef with chopped onion and garlic
  • chopped the tomatoes
  • softened the corn tortillas
  • assembled the beef enchilada casserole
  • put everything in the refrigerator

Tonight I:

  • put the casserole in the oven to bake
  • sauteed the veggies for the rice
  • added the cold rice
  • added the dried herbs, salt, pepper, and fresh cilantro to the rice/veggie mixture
  • shredded some lettuce
  • ate.

I like having lettuce, tomatoes, and light sour cream on top of my enchiladas. The cool vegetables and sour cream sort of cut the heaviness and richness of the enchiladas.

I had a long, busy day today at the quilt shop learning a new needle-turn applique technique. It was fun. I'm enjoying the process.

I loved knowing that the majority of the cooking and cleaning up was already over and done with! I'm not really a morning person and getting dinner made before breakfast will probably take some getting used to, but it sure was nice to come home to a dinner that was mostly made.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The big, scary WFD? 12/7

I hope to start a new series on the blog for the next month - What's for dinner? I've realized over the last several days that I would probably feel more energetic and positive, and less allergic if I had a regular diet of decent food.

Have you ever felt this way? When I graze around for food because I'm hungry, and afterward, even though I probably consumed enough calories to call it dinner, I don't really feel "fed". Do you know what I mean?

By dinnertime I'm usually rushing around in traffic to or from somewhere, and I'm tired and my stress level is at the max, and so I turn too often to quick, junky food for dinner. I think we eat too much highly-processed food and not enough whole foods. So I am going to (at least, I intend to) keep a record here on my blog about what I made for dinner so that I know exactly what we had and also in an effort to make myself more accountable in thinking about and planning our dinner menus better.

I hope to get in a better routine about doing some of the prep work in the morning in the little window of time that I have every day after James leaves for school and before Jake gets up. That way at night most of the work is already done and I'm not feeling so rushed and irritable, but I still have a good, healthful meal to put on the table. Right?

Early this morning I put a beef roast in the crockpot with yukon gold potatoes, carrots, onions, and a box of beef stock. (That's not a pic of my roast - I borrowed it from the Pioneer Woman. Maybe I should start taking pics of WFD? every night? We'll see.) Eleven hours later - perfection! Moist, tender, high-quality meat and fresh vegetables. I made some gravy out of the meat juices and added a little squirt of ketchup to give it some color and sweetness. It was a good idea.

I feel fed. Day one = success!