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Topic: 2010 Goal: cooking at home

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Subject: 2010 Goal: cooking at home
Date Posted: 2/10/2010 12:24 AM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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I can't believe I didn't do this last year! I guess because I was on/off with Weight Watchers but I enjoyed this thread in 2008 and it kept me motivated. If you share this goal (healthy or just to save money or for whatever reason) please feel free to post/share recipes/share successes and failures!

I'm currently doing the Weight Watchers plan for weight loss and like to type my recipes into their recipe builder to get the pts value(I don't always have the nutritional information other than pts) but I think sparkpeople.com has a free recipebuilder. I'd like to play with mastercook one of these days but my learning curve is pretty high and my patience low. I'm also trying to balance starch/protein like the diabetic exchanges which makes it a bit more challenging but so far I've been pretty much OP since the Tuesday before New Years(got a running start!). I want to cook at home to have more control over what I'm eating as well as enjoy the cooking experience and hopefully save money! I've always  loved cookbooks though rarely cooked from them. I find them inspiring and from time to time I find a keeper!

I"ve been keeping a 'journal' roughly written  LOL for my point tracking with WW and sometimes I'll jot down a recipe idea or how I felt,etc. Looking through now I see I've made the following(I've mostly eaten at home though some have been very very simple!)

taco soup - seems to be a regular recipe - I do lean ground beef mostly though sometimes I change out the beans and use chicken breast. I like to add some fat free sour cream and sometimes low fat shredded cheese after heating.

fajitas - I cheat and get John Soules usually! sorry but I've slaved in the kitchen once and was successful with from scratch chicken fajitas...

veggie soup - I've decided soup is easy and satisfying - basically fat free chicken broth and italian seasonings and pretty much mixed veggies or whatever is handy in the freezer and/or pantry. usually add diced tomatoes

breakfast is  usually liquid egg whites and sometimes a lean turkey sausage for the protein(s) and either an Orowheat/Arnold's sandwich thin, high fiber tortilla like Carb Balance, Mission extra thin corn tortillas (salsa with the tortilla version!), simply potatoes hash browns, and Eggo whole grain low fat waffles with sugar free syrup. I try to vary these options but since I cook the egg whites I call it cooking at home! see said simple would work! to vary I'll sometimes eat pre-purchased apple instant reduced sugar oatmeal and kroger carbmaster yogurt and sometimes a small piece/amt of fruit.

tilapia - this was basically a flop.  my goal of adding fish 2 times a week flopped. gave the rest of the frozen fillets to coworker. I kept a few in case I get a  'wild hair' to try it again but gonna have to find a better recipe!

this turned out good but doesn't have a name LOL! I had some leftover grilled steak(in a pan not actually on a grill). I weighted 2 oz and took a Orowheat sandwich thin, spread a bit of mustard on each side, and topped with the steak and some 'grilled' onions(these I boiled in a skillet on the stove to soften then let evaporate and carmelize a bit), and topped each with a little WW mozarella cheese and put under the broiler. nice and crunchy and good flavor from the onion. need some baby carrots or something extra to make it more filling but overall this was a nice meal. oh I toasted the bread first. I also did the same 'formula' with pizza sauce, turkey pepperonin, and low fat cheese.

chicken lasagna rollups - this recipe was very filling and made more filling than I expected. calls for 6 lasagna noodles and I had 7 of the high fiber ones left and they were beyond stuffed. I could eat one and not be hungry again for a while so they were worth the pts. I would like more sauce and next time I'll either cut back on the filling or use more noodles though I really don't want to freeze more than 6 since I don't crave this one too often(only made it once) I got this rcipe on cooks.com and it was called 'chicken lasagna roll-ups'

my coworker discoverd the Green Giant healthy ____ entrees. I like Healthy Vision and Healthy Heart(has barley in this one) and the Healthy Weight is ok too(it's her favorite) and I add cooked chicken breast and have a pretty complete meal. I burned out though so taking a short break from these and nope not really cooking at home though I did cook the chicken breasts!

I have a simple simple simple recipe that's tasty and is good with tortilla chips or rice. I used some quick cooking brown rice which I find non-filling and really not worth the points! I take a lb of really lean ground beef and cook then add a jar of my favorite salsa which is currently 'texas texas' medium hot. I sometimes use pace med if I find it on sale. I let it simmer for however long.usually at least 20 min but sometimes I've let it go longer if I got busy...just added a bit of water. then before eating I stir in some shredded cheddar of mexican blend cheese. I measured either 1/2 or 1 cup of the WW low fat mexican blend last time..think 1 cup. nice spicy flavor. I used brown rice with it for the starch then dug around in the pantry and found some leftover baked tostitos and liked the crunch of those better!

potato double corn chowder - think this was a betty crocker email recipe for the slow cooker and it SUCKED big time. I shouldn't have wasted my time putting it in individual containers since it got tossed without getting a 2nd chance. don't know what happened but I didnt' like it from the first bite. this almost derailed me but I looked through my recipe box and journal and realized I'd had success in the kitchen and this was just one flop.

crockpot meatloaf - someone got this recipe from a show on ABC and posted it for me on the WW board. I decided to try it and was pleasantly suprised. I used a round crockpot and checked it at the minimum time and as a result from whatever combo it didn't cook competely so I put the slices in the microwave. the topping had all the flavor and made the entire meatloaf. my dad tried it and thought it needed more onion and I think it could use that too and may try a tad more  next time. i'll make this one again for sure but may try my smaller oval crockpot instead or go shopping for a larger oval one with a timer *yum*! I cooked peeled russet potatoes and mashed with some fat free sourcream and salt and a little WW lowfat cheese since I think meatloaf HAS to have mashed taters with it! green beans heated up for the veggie.here's the recipe if anyone's interested:

1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef(I had 93 or 96 but think I had 93 this time since it was on sale last!)

2 eggs,beaten(I used 1/4 cup egg whites)

3/4 cup skim milk(had 2%)

1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs(had Italian)

1 tsp salt

2 tbsp onion(think it needs a bit more)

1/2 tsp sage (didn't think this was enough but I could taste it a little)

topping: 1/4 cup ketchup, 2 tbsp brown sugar(I used sweet n low sub), 1 tsp dry mustard, 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

(since the flavor is mainly in the topping you might wanna try out the topping first then stop at this point if it sucks or put it in the fridge if it's ok)

mix meatloaf and form loaf. put in crockpot 5-6 hrs on LOW. add topping and cooking on HIGH 15 min. I'm either gonna use an oval crockpot or add an extra 30-45 min maybe next time. I did 6 servings with it.

cowboy beans - I was feeling extra domestic doing the meatloaf so did these beans a coworker had given me a long time ago. I started from scratch with dry pinto beans. did the quick soak method where you bring to boil then let sit about 2 hours and drain. I let them cook pretty much as long as the meatloaf or maybe even longer. I covered with water and sprinkled generously with dry mustard (spice section stuff not the squeeze bottle). I added a sliced onion and cooked. when they were done I added 14 oz lean turkey sausage(like eckrich but used butterball everyday brand), and a big can of diced tomatoes and a can or Rotel type tomatoes and cooked. If too much water just cook down. These taste better the next day so good for leftovers or to take to lunch.

I tried this recipe from Make it Fast Cook it Slow by Stephanie O'Dea a week or so ago. Hoisin chicken Wings(crockpot) only I subbed chicken legs since I had a huge pkg of these in the freezer and wanted to get rid of them! It was ok - nothing super great and I probably won't make again if I find another recipe for the rest of the Hoisin sauce. The legs had a good flavor but I'm not a huge fan of legs so unless If ind a super sale on them...well you get the picture. this was a hard recipe in that it wasn't bad but just not something I'm likely to go buy hoisin sauce for. I had 4 legs leftover and made a soup by cooking them in pressure cooker, adding a bit more fat free broth, some carrots cut up, frozen peas, and some barley. had to add some salt and pepper but the soup was actually better the next day which is good 'cause I was getting discouraged again!I still have a few servings of soup in the freezer.

Colleen's Slow Cooker Jambalaya - tried this today and it was good. not too s picy but may be more spicy when I reheat the leftovers so I'll taste before adjusting with more heat next time. I subbed Tony Chachere's chicken sausage with green onion/jalapenos for the andouille and itw as 14 oz as well as 14 oz of the precooked shrimp. I got this recipe from allrecipes.com and am happy with it - yeah!



Last Edited on: 2/10/10 12:48 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/10/2010 12:21 PM ET
Member Since: 4/30/2007
Posts: 2,728
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Nice to see this back, Susanna!  Wow, sounds like you have been busy!

I have to admit that I am not cooking as much as when we did this in 2008.  Amazing what a difference 2 years makes, but my kids are now 9.5 and almost 14, and I just have so much more going on anymore!  It takes a lot of advance planning to get meals cooked, and sometimes I just don't think to plan ahead like I should.  That's part of MY goal for 2010- more planning, less Little Caesers!

I have been doing a lot of soups, which I usually do in the winters.  I usually make at least one pot each weekend so that I have some for lunches throughout the week.  This past weekend I made navy bean and ham soup, from scratch, with dried beans.  It's pretty good, but I can't do that all the time- there is a lot of fat in those ham bones, and no matter what I do, I just can't skim it all off.  It's very tasty though!  The previous week, I did a chicken and vegetable soup that was really good.  I've discovered the secret to a good chicken soup is to use chicken on the bone, rather than boneless- it tastes so much better!  I used a breast half with the skin removed.  Browned the chicken, then removed from pot,  sauteed the veggies until carmelized, added the chicken back to the pot along with chicken broth and simmered until chicken was cooked through.  Removed chicken from pot and cooled, removed meat from the bones and shredded, then added back to soup and seasoned.  Very flavorful and filling as well!  Last night for dinner, made chili- I had forgotten to take anything out of the freezer to thaw, so I used a package of frozen ground turkey.  I kind of did a "clean out the fridge" recipe- used up a partial onion and 2/3 of a yellow bell pepper that was left over from something else, tossed in some canned mild green chiles that I had frozen in a baggie when they were left over from something else, and the rest of a can of tomato paste that I had in the freezer.  Added the turkey, a can of crushed tomatoes, a little water, chopped chipotle pepper, some chili powder, a can of pinto beans, and dinner was done!  It turned out pretty good- my son liked it, even though it was not as spicy as he usually likes it.

Speaking of my son, he does a little cooking of his own, and he made up a dish with his friend a few months ago- not bad for a pair of 13 year old boys!  It's a skillet dish of ground beef (I use turkey instead), onion, beans, rice, taco seasoning, and a few other seasonings.  I usually use brown rice instead of regular white, and he prefers pinto beans, though if we're out I've used black beans instead.  It's yummy with a little shredded cheddar cheese and salsa on top.

You mentioned crock pot cooking- I need to drag mine out and use them more. (I have 4 of them!)  Do you have that Stephanie O'Dea cookbook?  I have followed her blog since before she published the book and she really  has some great recipes.  I will have to look for that book one of these days.

I need to figure out some more interesting things to do with boneless chicken breasts- that is kind of my staple for dinner, but my son is pretty bored with the regular rotation of recipes I usually make.  My daughter on the other hand is the picky one and doesn't like to try anything new...so there's just no way I can make everyone happy apparently!  I think I want to try out some Indian dishes.  I've made a very basic chicken curry dish that everyone tolerated ok, but need to do some research and maybe branch out a bit.

oh, you mentioned tilapia, Susanna- what kind of recipe did you try and not like?  I've cooked with it a few times, and have had pretty good luck.  There was one recipe I made that my husband loved- it was baked in parchment and had Thai flavors- can't remember everything, but I know there was lime and fish sauce in the recipe.  Also did a recipe with mango salsa, and that was really good- though I know not everyone can stomach the thought of fruit with their fish!  I'm not a huge fish fan, but I have liked tilapia ok.  Unfortunatley, my Costco has stopped carrying the frozen filets.  I tried the cod instead, and yeccchhhh- anyone in the greater Portland/Salem, OR area want an almost full bag of frozen cod filets??

My short-term cooking goals: plan weeknight meals on the weekend, use crock pot more often, get out of my chicken breast rut, get my kids more involved with meal planning and preparation.  Guess I should stop there- too many goals and it will be too overwhelming!

Date Posted: 2/10/2010 9:30 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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Hi Lesley!! soups sound good! I love doing soups too. My mom seasons beans with a piece of ham sometimes..she freezes some leftover chunks and the beans don't seem as fatty but there's still some. I use some lean sausage usually(though I haven't done from scratch a whole lot!)and usually make it spicy so the rotel, etc can take over the flavoring.

I just took the tilapia and squeezed some lemon and I think it was either blackening seasong or tony chachere's no salt added cajun stuff..think the lemon wa too storng but it tasted fishy and I don't like fishy. I'm thinking of trying it in parchment paper or aluminum foil next time and see what happens.

I don't have O'Dea's cookbook (got it from the library to see if I liked it and jotted down a few recipes to try - didn't care much for the hoisin stuff though it wan't bad - just wasn't drooling over it! I found her blog somehow last yeard and there are a lot of recipes there I'd like to try and I e njoyed the posts I read. sometimes I'll go there when I"m on nights or weekends just to 'get inspired'!

I'm getting better with planning.. tonight for work I brought the leftover canned chili and hot dog stuff along with more of thejambala I fixed yesterday. I think the italian seasonings(thyme and oregano)stand out more than the cajun stuff in it though but it's still good. I'll make it again for sure. may do some more cowboy beans either this weekend or when I'm off next week since I got some extra turkey sausage at wally world though If ound out the chicken sausage I got was actually  leaner!

brought a cookbook with me to find more to try and a couple have caughtmy eye - one is for oven-fried/baked sweet potato wedges..basically a little olive oil or canola oil and salt/pepper and bake..sounds good though! also want to try the crockpot meatloaf again either this weekend or soon. need to make some stuff I can freeze a few servings from for later meals.

Date Posted: 2/11/2010 10:05 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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I'm trying to decide between crockpot chili with beans or crockpot meatloaf..I'm really leaning towards the chili since I just brown the meat and dump cans of stuff in the crockpot but meatloaf has to be measured and mixed up and 'requires' mashed potatoes and I like fat free sour cream with mine so that means a trip to the grocery store..so leaning towards chili or taco soup with ground beef which is really similar to chili.

Date Posted: 2/12/2010 5:21 PM ET
Member Since: 4/30/2007
Posts: 2,728
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I love the "open can and dump in" CP recipes- so easy!  I came close this week to making an orange chicken CP recipe from the Crockpot365 blog, but didn't because you have to brown the chicken first.  I'm sure that makes it better, but...having to brown something in a pan first kind of defeats the purpose of using the CP, in my opinion!

Date Posted: 2/12/2010 7:30 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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sometimes I'll brown the re-freeze so all I have to do is thaw..the browning really doensn't take all that long if the meat is ready to cook but yeah my reaction to a lot of the crockpot recipes is 'why use the crockpot' one actually had stuff added at different times..guess I could train my dogs to do that for me when I'm at work!

Date Posted: 2/12/2010 10:31 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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I did Deep Dish Pizza Casserole this afternoon! Pretty filing! I had meat sauce leftover in the freezer (prego sketti sauce with lean ground beef, canned mushrooms). spread a 9x11 casserole with 10 oz pillsbury pizza crust(gonna refigure the pts for hte whole tube since they always give 3 oz or so extra and it throws me off!) sprinkled crust with italian seasonings. onion flakes, and garlic powder and baked a bit at 425 til not mushy then top with the meat sauce and bake 10-15 min(I did 15 and was almost too much) then topped with cheese and since I'd already almost cooked it I just put it back in with the cheese and turned the oven off and it melted perfectly. let sit 5 min then cut! makes 6 big servings and guys at WW say their kids and hubbies lvoe it. some add veggies but I like mine like this with maybe onion and mushrooms then I'll eat veggies on the side though I may try bell peppers one fo these days..someone at the meeting suggested using taco meat or salsa instead of sketti sauce and using low fat cheddar..that sounds tasty as well!

Date Posted: 2/14/2010 8:15 AM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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getting ready for bed (night shift again) but browned some lean ground beef with some seasoning blend and dumped canned pintos with jalapenos, canned kidney beans, 2 cans tomato sauce, 2 cans rotel, 2 tsp cumin and 2 tbsp chil powder, cup of water all in the crockpot..hopefully it'll be yummy when I wake up (and hope the doggies leave it alone!)  I've always liked this chili though.

Date Posted: 2/17/2010 5:39 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
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well the chili came out good - have another serving to freeze. Today I made 2 new recipes though one I'm not sure about! It sounds weird and the revies on allrecipes.com were mixed - german chicken - and I'm trying it in the crockpot - sauerkraut, chicken breasts, bbq sauce! I also added some seasoning blend(onion, celery, red pepper). so far I haven't felt like trying it LOL but I may try it for lunch tomorrow or if I get hungry later tonight.

the other recipe someone posted on the weight watchers board and I subbed some of the alternate suggestions. it really  helps I guess that I've never had cream of poblano soup so I have nothing to compare it too. I do like it though! It's different. I used fat free sour cream and cut the amt in half and also didnt' add it to the pot of soup since I'll be re-heating it so I'll just stir it and the cheese in at the end after heating up the serving.

Date Posted: 2/19/2010 10:59 AM ET
Member Since: 4/30/2007
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I made a really good pork chop recipe the other night- it's out of the Everyday Food cookbook, which is great, we've really liked everything we've tried out of it.  Anyway this one was lemon-parsley pork chops, and was very simple and easy to do.  Salt/pepper pork chops and brown on both sides in a little olive oil.  Meanwhile, combine in a bowl the zest of one lemon, a couple of minced cloves of garlic, salt, pepper, and chopped fresh parsley.  When pork chops are browned on both sides, add 1/2 cup of chicken broth (I think the recipe called for water, but I like using broth instead), cover and cook until pork is done all the way through.  I also squeezed a little lemon juice into the pan while adding the broth.  Sprinkle the lemon/parsley mixture evenly over the chops.  Serve with the pan juices- they are yummy!  We had mashed potatoes with these and the juices were good with those.

Well, we only did one night of take-out this week, and that was Tuesday evening when I had to go to a band booster meeting at the middle school so wasn't home to cook, and dh took the kids for Chinese.  Maybe next week we will be take-out free!

Susanna, I have been trying to freeze more leftovers lately too- if we don't eat them within a few days, I try to get them into the freezer before they go bad and I have to toss them.  Of course not everything freezes well, so I don't do it with everything.  But I did freeze some leftover chili the other week, and also the rest of the navy bean soup that I made a couple of weeks ago.  Last weekend, I made pasta with bean sauce (a James Beard recipe, really yummy) and I froze half of that.  So in the next couple of weeks, I will have some easy lunch stuff to pull out of the freezer.  Also, the current issue of Everyday Food magazine has a section on prepping meals and freezing them for later use, and I tried two of them last weekend.  One is a breaded pork chop recipe- the pork chops are breaded, wrapped and frozen, and then to serve, you just put them under the broiler frozen and they're done in 15 minutes or so.  The other is garlic and wine chicken cutlets, where the chicken is frozen in the marinade.  That one has to thaw before cooking, but once it's thawed, you pan sautee the cutlets in just a few minutes.  So those are both in my freezer now, and in the next couple of weeks I'll try to work them into my dinner plan and see how they are.

Date Posted: 2/19/2010 1:22 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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those pork chops sound good!

I like freezing leftovers...I need to go through my freezer Sunday and see what all I have in there..toss some and use some for meals Wed and Thurs. I don't have a lot of freezer space and I hate freezer burn but it' snice to pull out a taco soup, chili, or veggie soup or whatever and eat a meal without having to make a new batch. I saw some neat-o packages of ready to go seasoned soup mixes that called for broth and meat, onion, etc to be added but passed because they made 15 servings and I don't want to be freezing 13 containers! oh well.

I bought some neat-o looking dry beans the other day at HEB.. little pricier than storebrand pintos but looked neat with the spots! think they're called anasazi? anyways think I'll make the cowboy beans recipe with them and some lean sausage...

Date Posted: 2/22/2010 9:38 AM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
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Well the Cream of Poblano soup was pretty good - I froze one serving to try later..it's something I'd make again if I had the ingredients handy and the peppers on sale or convenient(I know I'll never have those handy since I dont' buy peppers on a regular basis LOL!)

The chicken dish I t ossed after 1 serving. I honestly shouldn't have tried it (chicken breasts, sauerkraut, and bbq sauce and I added some frozen seasoning blend) and cooked most of the day in the crockpot. I knew sauerfkraut was salty and even cutting the amt in half I still should have re-thought it but now I know - my fingers and toes werelike little sausages and I take a diuretic as part of my blood pressure regime! so even with the diuretic I still retained fluid. the taste howver wasn't too bad if I didnt' eat a big bite of the sauerkrautin each bite. I don't do salty very well taste-wise or healthwise so I wont' be repeating this since I'd have to eithe rincrease the chicken or use half a can of the sauerkraut...just didn't work for me.

made the pizza casserole again last night for my parents..I think they liked it ok. didnt' have 2nds b ut found out after the fact that they weren't very  hungry sinc ethey'd snacked on the trip down. oh well. Ihave 3 servings left and today we'll probably go eat mexican food or at the bbq place since they like those 2 restaurants. I'm thinking about soaking some dried beans I got the ot he rday - anasazi I think they're called - they looked really cool so gonna do them like the cowboy beans I think and hope they taste good like the pintos did!

Date Posted: 2/22/2010 11:03 AM ET
Member Since: 4/30/2007
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Hmm, sauerkraut and bbq sauce sounds like an unusual combination to me!  I imagine there's quite a bit of salt in both of them.

I did a bit of cooking yesterday- made a big pot of chicken and vegetable soup for lunches this week, and also a baked ravioli dish.  For dinner, since we have had such gorgeous weather, I decided to grill and I did a whole butterflied chicken.  Marinated it in some white wine, lemon, garlic, onion and olive oil for several hours- it was yummy!  I just wish my gas grill was better- the low setting doesn't seem to work, so I end up with a higher flame than I want, which blackens the skin.  The meat is great though, very tender and juicy.  We had some parmesan risotto along with it, so I brought some leftovers of that to have with my soup for lunch today.

So  my aim is to not have to get any take-out for dinner this week, assuming my dh doesn't blow it!  I took a package of ground turkey out to thaw for tonight, but I'm not sure what I'll do with it yet.  I'm thinking that tomorrow we'll have those breaded pork chops that I froze a week ago, which will leave me time to thaw something for Wednesday.  Wish me luck- Wednesdays are the hardest, becuase my daughter has dance from 6-8, so my husband either has to feed her a snack before and then she eats late after class, or I have to make something REALLY quick that she can eat before she goes.  Since I work til 5, that's a challenge!

Date Posted: 2/23/2010 12:51 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
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ok good luck with tomorrow! sounds like you're preparing for it which helps greatly! maybe you could freeze some leftovers she could heat up? don't know how old she is..but I did that today for lunch.looked through the freezer and found some jambalaya I'd made a few weeks ago and heated it up with some mini ears of corn on the cob and it didn't take toolong..less than 10 min and that's because both were frozen and needed the microwave. we used to grab a sandwich also when I had band practice or my brother had football or something.

yep the chicken/sauerkraut/bbq sauce won't be repeated. I can't handle the salt and you're right the bbq was probably loaded too..I know it had that high fructose corn syrup in it and I'm sure being processed it has salt too.

I made the cowboy beans with the anasazi beans..they didn't keep their cute markings..look like a combo of pinto beans and blackeyed peas..the 'eye' area is a tad darker but the rest look like light pintos. good though! I'm also fixing a chicken tortilla soup recipe Igot off recipezaar and boo boo'd..didn't have separate chilies so used 2 cans of rotel when I probably should have used one can of rotel and one can of just regular diced tomatoes..sigh..I did leave out the jalapeno though but the chili powder and cumin along with the rotel.well it tasted a bit spicier than I wanted.was trying to replicate a local restaurant's soup and dont' think I succeeded..tastes more like taco soup but I'lls ee after it finishes cooking all the way 'melding' the flavors..have it for dinner Iguess but may run over to the grocery store next door and get some baked tostitos..feel the 'need' for something crunchy with the soup!

it turned cold here..bought stuff to plant yesterday so it figures it's freezing again..maybe sleet and snow later today but they're predicting it won't stick so hope it won't!

I work day shift tomorrow and thurs so need to get some stuff together to eat while at work so I don't slip up and eat something not-so-good. seems like both soups i've made have been spicy! need to find a nice eggdrop soup or something..would like to make wonton but need to find some premade wontons 'cause I'm NOT making those from scratch LOL!



Last Edited on: 2/23/10 12:53 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/24/2010 10:42 AM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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well the soup was good! of course all seems to start tasting the same after a while..this tasted basically like the taco soup I make only without the beans! I did add a little avocado, fat free sour cream, and crumbled 2 baked tostitos on top though the ones I brought to work today I forgot the avocado..oh well it's less pts/calories that way! I also left out the shredded cheese - totally forgot but didn't miss it. so basically all the 'extras' I top taco soup or chili with will work with this recipe as well.

kinda makes me wonder if it's worth trying other similar recipes if I already have something that works! but it's fun and I have a c hili recipe that's slightly sweetnened and served with macaroni that sounds intersting..also found a pumpkin chili though I'm afraid to 'invst' 3 lbs of ground beef to try it out! not sure I can scale it down easily without wasting something though the pumpkin I can probably stick in the freezer after opening...

Date Posted: 2/24/2010 11:04 AM ET
Member Since: 4/30/2007
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Susanna, canned pumpkin freezes really well- I just put it in a ziplock bag, press all the air out, and freeze it flat.  I cleaned out my freezer last weekend and found two bags of it- guess I will need to make some chocolate chip pumpkin muffins soon!

I have a great chicken tortilla soup recipe- I modified it from a Tyler Florence recipe, and it's really simple and delicious.  Not sure it could be done in a CP though.  Saute onions in a little oil until soft and carmelized, then remove from pot.  Add a couple of chicken breast halves, bone in, skin removed, and about 2 cups of chicken broth.  Simmer slowly until chicken is cooked through- depending how much chicken you are using, this can take awhile (45 minutes or so).  I suppose this part could easily be done in the CP, as long as there was plenty of liquid, otherwise it would get dried out.  Remove chicken from pot, reserving broth, cool, and remove from bones and shred.  Strain the broth and add back to the pot and add chicken, onions, a clove or 2 of minced garlic, some chipotle pepper (canned, amount depending on how spicy you like it- start with 1/2 of a pepper and add more if necessary), 1 small can of mild green chiles, 1 12 oz. can crushed tomatoes, and however much more broth you need for the right consistency.  Simmer 15 minutes or so.  Serve with tortilla chips, grated cheese, whatever toppings you like.

Well this week is blown...turns out that yesterday was McTeacher night at McD's, which is a fundraiser for my daughter's elementary school where the teachers go and work shifts and a portion of the sales goes directly to the school.  So my husband took the kids to that for dinner, and I had leftovers.  Maybe next week I'll have better luck!

Date Posted: 2/24/2010 4:06 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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that sounds like a good soup recipe! I'll have to try it 'cept I dont have chipotle peppers.wasn't wild about them the last time I got them but may have been the adobo whatever stuff they were in..had a weird taste to me.

man I'm hungry again! grrr..don't want to eat all day long either.

Date Posted: 2/24/2010 4:21 PM ET
Member Since: 4/30/2007
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If you don't like chipotle peppers, you can just use diced jalepenos from a can instead, or even fresh ones- I just like the chipotles becuase they add a nice smokey flavor.  Or if you don't like the heat of the jalepenos, just leave them out and maybe add some more mild chiles.

Date Posted: 2/25/2010 4:17 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
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the time I tried chipotles they tasted bitter instead of smoky.dunno what happened. I have a recipe from weight watchers that's for a chili that has chipotle in it along with fire roasted tomatoes..hunts here I come LOL!

in a dilemna now - my freezer doesn't have much more space and I'm tired of the leftovers I have in it..I've come to realize I rely too much ontomatoes, esp rotel! everything is spicy except the chicken barley soup that's just 'ok' and figures I have a ton of it! oh well.

Date Posted: 3/3/2010 11:47 AM ET
Member Since: 4/30/2007
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Just wanted to report on the frozen breaded pork chops that I posted about a couple of weeks ago- we had them for dinner last night, and they were great!  SO good, really easy to just stick into the broiler, turn once, and they were done in 20 minutes!  Amazingly, both of my kids loved them- they are not big on new dishes, and it's rare that when I try making something new that they would both like it, but they both raved about it and asked me to fix it again!  I want to try it with chicken breasts next, I think it would work just as well and be just as good.

river-rat - ,
Subject: Cooking
Date Posted: 3/3/2010 8:28 PM ET
Member Since: 2/10/2010
Posts: 23
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Is there room for a grumpy old single guy that loves to cook?

Have taught three wives to cook and now teaching my daughter to use the slow cooker ( she has a fifteen month old, is expecting in late summer, and works full time. I use my oven and a cast iron Dutch oven to do my slow and low cooking. I have used it to cook any and all of the ?slow cooker? recipe, just us 200 deg to 300 deg. Temp. By using it I can start it off on the burner to brown the meat and yes it adds to flavor and looks good ( good looks is good taste).

I have a very good cook book library and now that I have internet and TV connection. I use those as well (I live in a remote area on the river). Whenever I get a lust for a dish I consult all three and come up with a composition from the three. My kids have a saying when I have a cookout ?if you don?t like it come back next week, it will be different?

Date Posted: 3/3/2010 9:41 PM ET
Member Since: 4/30/2007
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Hi there, river-rat- always glad to hear from other cooks!  I can certainly sympathize with your daughter, as I am a full-time working mom to a 9.5 year old and an almost 14 year old, and I remember the days when the kids were small and demanding every second of my free time (and then some)!  Tell her that it does get easier eventually!  They get older, and then you have new challenges, such as your kids turning their noses up at everything you try to feed them except for plain broiled chicken and carrot sticks, lol.  My oldest is FINALLY branching out and willing to try different things, so that has made dinner a lot easier at my house!

I am another composition cooker- when I get an idea for a dish, I do lots of research, but ultimately end up taking different elements of various recipes and creating my own with them.  My family jokes that I am completely incapable of following a recipe, because I always have to change something!  Hey, that's the fun of cooking, right??

Well, we've done better this week- tonight is the only night we've done take-out, and that's my fault.  I could have cooked, but I've had a few really busy days at work and some bad nights, thanks to my food-allergic hairless dog who wants to spend all night scratching at the foot of the bed, arrggh.  So hubby and our son are out for Chinese right now and bringing me leftovers- he fed my daughter before her dance class, so I didn't have to do a thing.  I am resolved to cook for the rest of the week though- tomorrow is grocery day, and Friday is traditionally breakfast for dinner night, so I can handle that.  So next week I will AGAIN shoot for no takeout- wish me luck!!



Last Edited on: 3/3/10 9:41 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
river-rat - ,
Subject: Directions
Date Posted: 3/3/2010 10:57 PM ET
Member Since: 2/10/2010
Posts: 23
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I followed a recipe once and it was the worst meal I have ever cooked --- Lets see that was wife # 2 . My best friend and my best male friend were Irish, so on her birthday I cooked a traditional Irish meal, went by the direction --- By the second bite I took the plats up, called and got seating at a sea food house that my son was kitchen manager at and had a wonderful evening. They chided me the whole night.

Date Posted: 3/16/2010 7:06 AM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
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Hi everyone! I haven't done any major cooking lately and this week I'm working 8 12 hour and a fwe 9 hr day shifts in a row and of course now I'm not feeling so hot either on top of being tired. oh well just gotta get through it. Next week though I need to come up with some recipes so I can have them ready to go. I have mon/tues off next week then the weekend(hopefully!) then go back on night shift. I'm leaning towards some m ore soups though I've been sorta craving chili lately(yes in spite of the warmer temps!) but I use the slowcooker usually for that but have a few other recipes I may try out or just do the crockpot recipe on the stove..everything is cooked before going in the slowcooker anyways so it shouldn't matter too much. also wanting some meatloaf and homemade mashed potatoes...gosh not even breakfast time yet and I'm already thinking of dinner  LOL!

but seriously I'm doing leftovers and bought stuff and *gasp* frozen meals and bumming off coworker this week! but it's good for a change of pace then back to the cooking!

Date Posted: 3/16/2010 7:45 PM ET
Member Since: 4/30/2007
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I've been cooking, but nothing new or exciting lately.  I did try those marinated chicken cutlets that I had in the freezer, and everyone liked them, so that recipe is a keeper!  I also prepped some breaded chicken for the freezer, same recipe as the pork chops that I posted above, so at some point we'll see if it works as well for chicken as it does for pork.  I just got the newest issue of Everyday Food, and I just love the make-ahead meal section- this one has a meatloaf recipe that looks really good.  I would probably sub ground turkey for the beef, but I may try it.  I like to make mini-meatloaves instead of one big one, but don't do it often because my kids won't eat it.  Isn't that weird- kids who don't like meatloaf!  I practically grew up on it myself!

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