Monday, January 14, 2013

Meatless Monday Veggies and Cheese Quesadillas

Let's see if we can use up some of those yummy pre-prepared veggies I have ready to go. You will notice there are no amounts in this recipe.. if you like onions add more.. if you don't like tomatoes, leave them out.. this is one of those NRS (not rocket science) recipes... seriously I just threw things don't even have to use two tortillas, you could just warm one and flap it over.. (flap it over is a very technical cooking term.. trust me)

I started out with some green onions and green peppers sauteed in a little Extra Virgin Olive

remember this spinach.. pretend you see a picture here of it getting chopped up and then a picture of it being put in the pan with the peppers and green onions.. I am all about helping you expand you imagination!!!!

after the spinach is wilted add some tomatoes and heat them..

 grab your favorite cheeses.. these make it all ooey and gooey.. 

Good ole flour tortillas 

 heat both tortillas over medium heat  first, as this helps the cheese melt...  

 on the warm tortilla place the veggie mixture..

 top with grated mozzarella cheese 

 I then added basil, tomato feta cheese, if you are not a fan, just stick with mozzarella..

 the other warmed tortilla on top and press down.. with your old wrinkly hand..  hey look I'm a Shar pei 

when it is brown on one side flip.. the flipping process took two hands  and left no hand to take a picture, but it is doable.. with a large spatula placed all the way under the quesadilla and put your old wrinkly hand on top and flip with confidence...

 Cut with your pizza cutter, 
 the pre prepared tomatoes, onions, cilantro and a little chopped jalapeno and minced garlic  a squeeze of lime juice made for a quick pico de gallo.. served with a dollop of sour cream..

This would make an amazing lunch or supper, but I will admit.. I had it for breakfast with coffee.  I loved it.  Don't be afraid.. it would be very hard to make  a quesadilla incorrectly, it is all what you like.. and I like it ooey and gooey.. see it squeezing out the sides in picture above.. YUMMO!!!!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Big Chop

New Year... same resolution.. be healthier... Last year I was going to give up caffeine... I realized no caffeine was not doable with schedule. Maybe that is my addiction talking but how about less caffeine . (just a little less).  

One thing I have tried to incorporate this year was to eat more REAL food.  On the last post I talked about throwing so much food away.  I started thinking why wasn't I using all the vegetables that I bought, and I realized part of it was just being tired at the end of the day.  I think I have mentioned I commute 37 miles each way on one of the busiest highways in Dallas, and through construction, by the time I get home I just sometimes don't want to wash and chop and prepare food. So I had the great idea to wash and chop all the vegetables ahead of time  to see if it would help me prepare real food, instead of doing the drive through or eating peanut butter sammiches at the end of a long drive.  So began THE BIG CHOP, after a trip to the grocery store...

Let's start with the spinach.. I love, love love fresh spinach, but I usually buy baby spinach, my store was out of baby spinach, so I bought the bunch...

and had to deal with the stems.. I pulled all the stems off and washed the spinach thoroughly..

and spun it in my favorite salad spinner... weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee..

 I store it in paper towel to make sure it is VERY dry.

In a plastic container with a lid
 These are leftover from spinach, but have no fear of waste I have an idea for them :)

 next celery... some chopped and some cut in sticks to stay in water to stay crisp for snacks, alone, or with peanut butter

 Chopped yellow onions.. notice a few left over.. Qman is going to have some pan fried tators and onions later...

 Chopped and seeded roma tomatoes

Cilantro.. I love me some cilantro 

Destemed, washed and SPUN!!!

 Wrapped in papertowel...

 lightly secured with a rubber band

Chopped green peppers

Beautiful carrots..

Stacks of veggies all ready to be put in the fridge awaiting some fabulous meals or being great snacks.. now to see what I can come up with to make with all these clean, prepared vegetables...

and this is a bag full of all the leftover pieces including the spinach, celery, green onions.. I think it is calling for a vegetable stock to be simmering on the stove. (stay tuned)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Meatless Monday Black Beans and Rice

(Not sure why this didn't post yesterday as scheduled.. but just like me.. Meatless Monday is running late...) 

Okay here is the problem I have lately.  I throw food away CONSTANTLY.  When I was growing up I learned to cook for 6 people. Two brothers who could consume as much as you could cook. (I wasn't too shabby myself at eating.)  

Then I got married and improved my cooking skills while raising three boys of my own and a girl.  I called my boys the garbage disposals.  Do you know how much 3 teenage boys can eat.  I  never had to worry about leftovers. Until....::play the dum da dum dum tune here::  They all GREW UP and left... now I just don't know how to cook just a tad. If I make a casserole I end up with two huge ONES. I haven't been able to make a small pot of soup, or a small salad.  

I think empty nesters need to unite and buy fresh vegetables. I just need two green onions, not a whole bunch, spinach by the bulk, not a whole bag or bunch!!!   

With that being said... for this first Meatless Monday, I am making my first attempt at cutting a recipe down.  For these Black Beans and Rice I went to The Food Network's website and found 
Ingrid Hoffman's Black Beans and Rice.  Now if you still have a big family and all your kids home  this makes 16 servings. Do you know how long it would take for me to eat 16 SERVINGS? I cut this by 1/4  and when I make it again, I will cut the Apple cider vinegar back as reflected in the following recipe.  It was a bit overpowering in the dish.

I also topped with with fresh chopped green onions and tomatoes.. yanno trying to use up those empty nester's vegetables. :)

Empty Nester's Black Beans and Rice  

4 T. Olive Oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
4 t. cumin
1/2 c. rice3
1 c. black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 can diced tomatoes, with green chilies(I didn't drain)
1/2 c. water 
2T. apple cider vinegar

Heat a large pot over medium-high heat and add the oil. Stir in the onions, peppers, garlic, bay leaves and cumin. Stir and cook for 8 minutes.Stir in the rice, black beans, tomatoes, water, vinegar and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for about 40 minutes or until the rice is tender. Serve hot.

The best part... 
Leftovers were just two small dishes, all packed and ready for lunches for the week.  Did I mention I have to go back to work, after two weeks off... I am going to need grab and go lunches!!!!

Hope you ENJOY!!!

Monday, July 9, 2012

FIG PERSERVES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Last week I got the chance to visit my Mama, Sister and Son in East Texas.  My Sister is remodeling the house so my youngest son is there for the summer working, helping her in exchange for a car. My baby will have his own car... .and I am ONLY 29, hard to believe huh!! My Mama said "You better bring sugar and jars, because I have figs."   These are the easiest jam, jelly, or preserves you will ever make. Just two ingredients.  They are my favorite preserve and also my boys love them. 

First you wash all those beautiful figs.  There are so pretty.. I love them!!

Then you take a seat and cut the stem off and them slice them in half.
When you finally have them all sliced you cover them in sugar.  We just eye ball it, but looking for a recipe on the internets Emril says a cup of sugar to a pound of figs. You know if I am making this it isn't Rocket Science, just make sure all the figs are coated in sugar.  Then you just wait, overnight it optimal, but we sat them out in the Texas heat to speed up the process.

A few hours later and the sugar and fig juice has all melted together into yummiliciousness and you are good to go

See that yumminess... be still my heart, now you place them over medium low heat and slowly simmer until the figs melt down and the juice thickens, about 3o minutes.

Place in jars making sure the top of the figs are covered in juice. Wipe the top of the jars with a clean towel. Boil the lids and place on jars.

Emril also says to water bath these.  I never have, and they are always good even in the middle of winter.  If you find a fig tree, try this, 2 ingredients, no pectin is needed :)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Pork Chops Southern Style

In world far away, years and years ago I worked for a special lady who had 

Multiple Sclerosis, she had been a home economics teacher and had a local cooking show. Nancy taught me to make this recipe for her and her family, because she was unable to cook at the time and I have loved, loved, loved it.  Everyone I make it for love it also.   She just simple called it Pork Chops Southern style.  The recipe is for 6 pork chops, notice  in the pictures I only did 4.  Have I mentioned I am still learning this empty nest thing???  I just adjusted the recipe, this isn't a rocket science recipe, things can be adjusted and added or taken away from.  I have made it with chicken stock, left out the soy sauce,  don't be afraid, just keep the rice and stock ratios in sync and all will be fabulous.. trust me!! 

With salt, pepper and garlic powder season pork chops evenly on both sides Melt butter with oil in large heavy skillet, brown chops on both sides.

Transfer chops to large roasting pan.

Slice onions, , tomato and pepper. 
(notice my broken Pampered Chef mini spatula in the background... I CRIED!!! I loved that spatula and had it for over 10 years...::sigh::)

Pour rice evenly over the pork chops .

Place one pepper slice, one onion slice and one tomato slice on each pork chop.

Disolve the bouillon cubes in boiling water, (I do this in the microwave), and stir in Worcestershire and Soy Sauce.
  ( I was out of Soy Sauce, thank goodness I save all those little packets from Chinese take out.)

Pour bouillon(stock) mixture evenly over the whole dish.

Cover with foil.. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.  

Serve HOT.

Pork Chops Southern Style

Lemon – pepper  to taste
Salt to taste
Garlic powder to taste
6 (1 inch thick) center - cut pork chops
2 tbsp. butter + 1 tbsp. of oil
3 3/4 c. boiling water
4 beef bouillon cubes
1 1/2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp. soy sauce (opt.)
1 1/2 c. uncooked rice
12 (1/2 inch thick) slices onion
6 (1/2 inch thick) slices tomato
6 (1/2 inch thick) slices green peppers

With salt, pepper and garlic powder season pork chops evenly on both sides Melt butter with oil in large heavy skillet, brown chops on both sides.

Transfer chops to large roasting pan.

Dissolve the bouillon cubes in boiling water, (I do this in the microwave), and stir in Worcestershire and Soy sauce.   

Place 1 slice onion, 1 slice tomato, 1 slice pepper on each pork chop.     

Pour bouillon(stock) mixture evenly over the whole dish.

Cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Serve hot.
Yields 6 servings.

And on another happy note... duct tape fixes everything... until I can get to Lynette's and pick up my new one :)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Make ahead and Freeze Breakfast Burritos

I loved these, they were incredibly easy and delish...... and made morning breakfast a much simpler task.   I made some with just bacon, some with just sausage but they were best with both... for vegetarians you could delete the meat, add more onions and peppers.


1 lb breakfast sausage
6 slices bacon
2 potatoes, cubed into bite size pieces
1/2 onion, chopped
8 oz cheese (any kind you like)
12 soft taco tortillas (I used flour)
6 eggs,  extra large
1/4 c milk
salt and pepper

Fry bacon, and then chop.   Fry pototoes and onions in the bacon grease (oh yes I did say in the bacon grease!!!), salt and pepper to taste. 

Whisk  6 eggs and 1/4 c milk in a bowl until well combined.
Heat a large skillet with nonstick cooking spray (or melt 1 Tbls butter) over medium heat  add egg mixture. Cook eggs over medium heat stirring occasionally until eggs are set. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

After everything is cooked, place 5-10 tortillas on a plate and  cover with a wet paper towel. Heat in microwave for 30 seconds at 50% power.  Heat the tortillas in batches. 

Set up an assembly line with all the ingredients. Place the tortillas on a large baking sheet or cutting board.

 Build your burritos:
 - cheese
 - eggs
 - potatoes
 - meat

 Fold in the sides of the tortilla. Roll burrito up very tightly. Pat firmly on top of the burrito making sure the seam is on the bottom. 
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place burritos on the sheet, seam side down. Press down on the burritos again lightly making sure that the edges are tucked in. Place baking sheet in the freezer for an hour to flash freeze the burritos. Remove from freezer and wrap burritos in plastic wrap individually. Place in a ziploc bag. I ended up with 24 burritos. 
 To Heat the burritos (I wrote this on the ziplock bag with a Sharpie ( have I ever declared my love for Sharpies?)
 Remove plastic wrap. Wrap burrito in wet paper towel.  Heat for 3 minutes on 50% power. 

I served with Salsa.. Yummiliciousness in a Tortilla.. OLE!