February 15, 2011

Easy Biscuts and Sasuage Gravy

This is something I made on a whim and it actually tuned out GREAT! My husband had friends over and I needed a quick meal that would fill them up. I had not been to the grocery store in a while and I was worried that they might just be out of luck but I opened the pantry and saw Bisquick. I knew I had milk and a partial roll of Jimmy Dean Breakfast Sausage in the freezer so I thought pancakes and sausage, when I flipped the box over to get the pancake recipe I saw the recipe for the biscuits and that's when I decided to experiment. Side Note: I ALWAYS keep a roll of Jimmy Dean hot sausage or breakfast sausage in my freezer. I cut a little off here and there to toss in my spaghetti sauce, breakfast burritos stuffed zucchini, and in many other things.

So here is what I did

I mixed the biscuits according to the package. Something along the lines of 2 1/2 cups of Bisquick and 2/3 cup of milk. Dropped them on the baking sheet at 350 and baked them for about 12 minutes.

While they were baking I tossed the partial roll of frozen sausage on a plate and stuck in the microwave for a few minutes to thaw. I heated a large skillet over med heat and added the semi-thawed sausage to the pan. I used a flat edge wooden spoon to chop the sausage up in the pan as it cooked so that when it was done it was broken down in to small bite sized pieces. I then tossed in roughly 4 Tbs of flour and cooked that with the sausage for about another minute or two. I slowly whisked in the rest of the milk that I had and it was still a little to thick. So I had a skiff or half and half left and a skiff of heavy whipping cream left. I dumped them in and it thinned it right out.*Note the second time I did this I ran out of milk as well and just used about a 1/2 cup water and it still tasted wonderful*  I cooked it a little longer and added salt and pepper. Needless to say they scarfed it down and came looking for more.

February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day Dinner

We usually go out to dinner for Valentine's Day but this year I have decided to stay in and cook. I know Crazy right? I made this meal a few weeks ago and it was scrumptious! Filet with a peppercorn sauce and creamed spinach. I know that filet can be pricey but I have been catching them on sale at Safeway for $9.99 a pound and the last time I purchased them from our local butcher I was able to get three 6 oz filets for just a little over $16.00.  The recipe below is for two 6 oz filets but you will defiantly have enough sauce for up to four.

For the filet :
2 - 4   6 oz filets
2 Tbs butter
1/4 cup Brandy
1 teaspoon peppercorns cracked (put them in a sandwich bag and hit them a few times with a meat tenderizer)or if you have a pepper mill just loosed the grinder a bit by unscrewing it
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 Tbs Dijon Mustard

Bring your filets to room temperature
Pat dry with a paper towel and lightly season with salt and pepper on each side
Pre heat the oven to 500 degrees
In an oven safe pan on med-high heat melt the butter
Once the pan his hot add the steaks and cook for 3 minutes on each side (less if you like them cooked Medium)
Remove from the stove top and place them in the oven for another 3 minutes
After 3 minutes remove the pan from the oven and place the steaks on a plate and cover with foil
Return the pan to the stove top over medium heat.
Using a whisk stir in the Dijon and Brandy to loosen all the good stuff on the bottom of the pan.
Heat for about 1 minute.
Slowly whisk in the heavy cream and peppercorns.
Spoon over steak and serve.

With this filet I usually serve creamed spinach. If your not a fan of spinach I dare you to try this recipe and not love it!

2 - 9oz bags of baby spinach
1/2 stick of  butter plus 2 Tbs
2 Cups Milk
2 crushed cloves of garlic
1/2 cup chopped onion
4 Tbs flour

In a sauce pan melt the 1/2 stick of butter
Stir in flour while whisking . Cook for roughly 3 minutes.
Toss in the garlic and onion and cook for another minute.
Slowly whisk in the milk until you get the desired consistency whisking constantly.
Season with salt and pepper.

In another pan melt the remaining butter and saute the spinach just until it wilts. (2-3 minutes)

Toss with white sauce mixture and serve with the steaks. Yum!

The entire meal (including wine) coast me roughly $30.00.

February 8, 2011

Canvas Growth Chart

So I am taking a break from cooking posts to share my latest craft adventure.

As a  kid my grandparents always made the height mark of the grandchildren on the wall. Well, when their home was sold in 2001 there was no way to take that part of my childhood with me unless I ripped off the door frame to one of the bedrooms and that was not going to happen.

Here are the instructions for a light weight canvas growth chart that can go anywhere.

1 - 5 ft x 15in piece of canvas or other heavy material (I used Duck Canvas)* This can be purchased in a variety of colors or a neutral color can be painted.
1 Dowel and Dowel Ends
Embellishments of your choice for decorating
Paint pens
Cloth tape measure (optional)*this can be glued to the canvas if you don't want to draw the measurement lines
Cloth glue/tape

Total cost: $30.00

The first thing I did was glue the edges. I folded over about a 1/2 inch on each side and attached it with fabric glue. I did the same for the bottom. I then folded about 3 inches of the top of the canvas over to create a fold that I could slide my dowel through. Using the cloth glue/tape I applied it to the edge of the fold to secure the fold.

While the fabric glue was drying I painted my wooden letters. This was the most time consuming.

While they were drying I covered my dowel in a ribbon attached with the fabric glue. Once dry I attached one dowel end with hot glue and slid it through my fold on the top of the canvas. I then attached the second dowel end and tied ribbon to each end for hanging.

Once that was done I gathered all of my embellishments and began to lay them out. It's important to do this, I ended up moving things around several times.

I attached a ribbon with the fabric glue to make my measuring tape. I started mine at 2ft. The tape measure could also be made by using fabric paint or attaching a cloth tape measure. All in all pretty simple.

February 3, 2011

Zucchini Mexicali

Every year my father in-law plants a huge garden where I get a majority of my ingredients.
Zucchini Mexicali is a childhood favorite of mine that I used to make with my grandmother.
This was made from last summers garden, I can't wait to see what we'll have to work with this summer.

Here is what you need:
1 whole Medium Zucchini Sliced Thin
1  Small Onion, Chopped
1  Green Pepper, Chopped
1  Red Pepper, Chopped
2 Tablespoons Jalapeno Chooped
1 teaspoon Basil
½ cup Taco Sauce
1 teaspoon Yellow Mustard
Shredded Cheese, For Topping (optional)

Start by warming a nonstick pan.
Add just enough water to coat the bottom (you can also use veggie broth).
Add veggies and jalapenos.
Simmer for a few minutes until onions start to look clear.
Add basil, cover and cook a few more minutes until all veggies are soft.
Add in taco sauce and mustard.
Let this heat for about 5 minutes.
At this point you can adjust the flavor if needed by adding more mustard or taco sauce.
Before serving, I like to add a little shredded cheese and sour cream to the top.
This can be eaten as a main dish or side dish.
This recipe will be enough for two people as a main dish or four people as a side dish.