Venison Meatloaf Topped with Horseradish Mashed Potatoes

When I came across some ground venison at the local butcher shop, I knew I had to buy some and re-live my childhood just a bit. When I was a child, my dad would go hunting each year.

During Dad’s week away, my mom would spoil my brother and I. We got to watch more TV than usual and stay up late. I liked to stay up late and spend time with the family dog, Rocky (I needed an excuse to share this adorable picture I came across while cleaning this week!). We weren’t allowed to go out for walks after dark, so I would work on teaching him tricks, chasing each other around the living room, and snuggling (even when he got bigger, he still liked to snuggle. There were a few years where I’m pretty sure the dog was bigger than me).

9-year-old me and Rocky (somewhere around 15-weeks old at the time), both looking a bit sleepy.

Most years, Dad would come home with some tasty venison. I always tried my best not to imagine that what I was eating what was once a cute deer. I still try not to think about it too much. The only things I recall my parents cooking with the venison were jerky (we had our own dehydrator) and chili. More recently, we make meatloaf.

Because it’s been a cold, rainy week around here, I decided that some comfort food was in order. And venison meatloaf hit the spot! But I did go a bit overboard. I made a double-batch of meatloaf. After 5 days of eating meatloaf, I took a few leftover pieces to some friends. The remaining slices have been put in the freezer for the coming weeks.

While I’ve since come up with my own recipe for venison meatloaf — no matter how it is spiced — it reminds me of my childhood.

Venison Meatloaf Topped with Horseradish Mashed Potatoes

Venison Meatloaf

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground venison – approximate cost $20.00
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs – approximate cost $1.00
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1 teaspoon cane sugar – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper – approximate cost $0.10
  • 3 teaspoons paprika – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg – approximate cost $0.10
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced – approximate cost $0.30
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, drained – approximate cost $1.25
  • 4 large eggs – approximate cost $1.20

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine the breadcrumbs, sea salt, cane sugar, black pepper, paprika, allspice, nutmeg, and garlic in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add the ground venison, tomatoes, and eggs.
  4. Mix until well combined.
  5. Divide mixture into two.
  6. Form into two loaf shapes.
  7. Place into a loaf pan.
  8. Bake for 45 minutes (this is a great time to start preparing the horseradish mashed potatoes).
  9. Remove from oven.
  10. Top the meatloaves with the horseradish mashed potatoes.
  11. Return to oven and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes (or until cooked through).
  12. Broil for a few minutes so the potatoes are crispy and golden (Watch it closely though, they can burn quickly if you aren’t paying attention).
  13. Remove from oven.
  14. Allow to sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes.
  15. Serve and enjoy!

Horseradish Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 4 large potatoes – approximate cost $2.00
  • 1/2 cup butter – approximate cost $1.00
  • 2 tablespoons spicy horseradish – approximate cost $0.30

Method

  1. Optional: Peel skin off of the potatoes  (I left the skins on).
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  3. Slice potatoes into bite-sized pieces.
  4. Boil potatoes until they can be easily pierced with a fork (approximately 15 minutes).
  5. Drain water.
  6. Combine potatoes, horseradish, and butter.
  7. Mash until well-combined.

Makes about 16 servings (approximate cost: $1.73 per serving).

Wednesday Link Parties

Cast Party Wednesday

White Lights on Wednesdays

Fluster Buster

Guest Post: Mediterranean Summer Salad With Extra Virgin Olive Oil

I love purchasing fresh local produce this time of year. Sometimes, the produce doesn’t even make it to the dinner table because I’ve eaten all of it as a snack! This happens every time I buy peas in the pod. I eat them all. Usually by myself. The cat will beg for them — my cat is strange, she loves to eat fresh green vegetables — and I’ll do my best to ignore her. Bryan usually comes home only to find a pile of empty shells… I tend to forget to save some for him as well.

I was quite excited, then, when Randi proposed the guest post I’m sharing with you today. Why? Because I love a delicious fresh salad and this one looks hearty enough to be a meal itself! And because tomorrow is Farmer’s Market day and I’m going to pick up some fresh produce to make this salad for lunch. Take it away Randi!


Author Bio: This is a guest post by Randi Leeds on behalf of Flavor Your Life. To get ideas on how to use olive oil please visit www.flavor-your-life.com.

A vibrant new campaign in support of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, “Flavor Your Life,” has launched in North America. It is jointly funded by the European Union, the Italian Department of Agriculture and Unaprol; the largest consortium of Olive growers in Italy. The goal of the campaign is to educate North American consumers and retailers on the importance of product origin and the quality level of the oil they use daily.

With all the recent controversy over the question “What IS EVOO,” this campaign aims to educate the North American consumer on the proper way to choose an extraordinary and tasty EVOO – from traceability to the origin of the product your purchasing.

There’s no better way to start summer off than with this tasty Mediterranean Salad, brought to you by the dynamic new campaign for Extra Virgin Olive Oil, “Flavor Your Life”.

Mediterranean Summer Salad With Extra Virgin Olive Oil

EVOO Mediterranean Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 pieces of Buffalo Mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 4 large tomatoes sliced
  • 3 English cucumbers sliced
  • 1 tsp. capers
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • Dash of salt & pepper
  • Fresh basil leaves for garnish
  • 4 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Preparation

  1. Wash and cut all the vegetables.
  2. Place the green vegetables on a chilled plate.
  3. Add the mozzarella and cover with the sliced tomatoes.
  4. Sprinkle with capers and basil.
  5. Season with lemon juice, salt, and a pinch of pepper.
  6. Spoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil over dish.

To get ideas on how to use olive oil please visit www.flavor-your-life.com and follow us on Twitter and Facebook too.

Nana’s Macaroni and Cheese Casserole

This post is for my childhood best friend and her mom. I know you’ll be reading this and you’ve wanted to know the “secret” macaroni and cheese recipe for a while now (I put sectret in quote not because this recipe is secret… but because it’s one of those things I had to be in the kitchen to learn, there wasn’t a written recipe for a while). This recipe is my progress so far at imitating Nana’s Macaroni and Cheese Casserole. It’s not quite as delicious as hers (yet). She jokingly told me last weekend that hers tastes better because of the added love. 🙂

To me, this is my all-time favourite comfort food. It reminds me of my childhood. When I was in grade school, Dad would pick my brother and I up from school during lunch hour and we would go visit Nana and Boppa (I had trouble saying Papa as a toddler and the nickname “Boppa”stuck). Nana always had a fantastic meal ready when we arrived. We ate lunch, visited, and Dad dropped us back at school on his way to work. Back then, I didn’t realize how lucky I was to have a home-cooked meal every day. And to spend time with my family at every meal.

Nana’s repertoire seemed endless, I remember homemade soups (chicken noodle, cream of asparagus) and sandwiches (grilled cheese made with a sandwich press, ham, turkey, hot chicken with gravy). Lunch was rarely the same two days in a row.

My favourite was always the Macaroni and Cheese Casserole. This was Dad’s least favourite meal, so Matt and I would beg Nana to make it. And she would.

I miss those lunches. But it’s a fantastic memory! As we grew up, we went to different schools, Dad was moved to an office that was further away, and eventually Nana decided to move. We still try to get the family together on weekends for dinner when possible.

Over the years, I’ve tried my best to learn from Nana and imitate the recipe. You see, it was originally my Great Grandmother’s recipe and it had never been written down. Interestingly, Nana tells me that she and her sisters each have their own way of making the recipe. And each of them insists theirs is “just like mom’s” The differences are minor: the tenderness of the pasta before it is added to the casserole, the topping, the way you prepare the cheese, and whether or not you include the liquid from the canned tomatoes…

I hope to learn to make more family recipes, but this is the one that I hope to perfect soon!

Nana’s Macaroni and Cheese Casserole

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dried macaroni noodles – approximate cost $0.60
  • 1 sleeve salted top crackers – approximate cost $0.60
  • 1 796 mL can of whole tomatoes, undrained – approximate cost $1.25
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt – approximate cost $0.10
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1 egg – approximate cost $0.30
  • 1 cup milk (the type of milk has changed over the years, I currently use whole milk or 2%, Nana uses Skim or 1%) – approximate cost $1.33
  • 250 grams of medium cheddar cheese, cubed – approximate cost $3.50
  • 250 grams of medium cheddar cheese, shredded – approximate cost $3.50

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  3. Add the macaroni noodles.
  4. Boil the noodles for HALF of the recommended time (Nana calls this “parboiling”), about 4-5 minutes.
  5. Drain the noodles and rinse with cold water.
  6. Add the noodles to a large mixing bowl.
  7. Drain the liquid from the tomatoes into the mixing bowl with the noodles.
  8. Dice the tomatoes into small pieces.
  9. Add the tomato to the noodles.
  10. Add the cheese cubes and shredded cheese.
  11. Mix until well-combined.
  12. Pour the noodle mixture into a 9×13 casserole dish.
  13. Add the milk, egg, sea salt, and black pepper to the now empty mixing bowl.
  14. Mix the milk and eggs until well-combined.
  15. Pour milk mixture over the noodles (The noodles should be just covered, and it’s ok if a few tops of the pieces are not submerged. Add a bit extra milk if needed).
  16. Put the salted-top crackers in a plastic bag.
  17. Use a rolling pin to crush the crackers into fine crumbs.
  18. Sprinkle the cracker crumbs over the noodles, making sure to completely cover any exposed noodles so they do not dry out.
  19. Bake for 1 ½ hours (the edges should be slightly browned and the topping golden-coloured)
  20. Remove from oven.
  21. Allow the casserole to stand for 15-20 minutes on the counter.
  22. Serve and enjoy!

Makes about 8 servings (approximate cost $1.40 per serving).

Wednesday Link Parties

Cast Party Wednesday

White Lights on Wednesdays

Fluster Buster

Venison Stew

Over the last month, there have been many new additions to my little kitchen that I’ve been waiting to share with you.

We got a few new plates for Christmas! We broke a few dinner plates over the last year. We had three plates left around October. I began to worry how we were going to have friends over for meals if we didn’t even own enough plates to eat said dinner on. I love having a full set again, even if they aren’t an exact match.

I also got a lovely, pre-seasoned, cast iron dutch oven as a Christmas gift. Actually, it’s what I used to cook this lovely stew. I love it as well! I’ve read through the instruction manual and am fairly confident I will be able to take care of it. Any tips for maintaining cast iron cookware?

Finally, I splurged after the holiday… but it’s totally worth it! A department store in the area is going out of business (actually, I think the final day was over the weekend). I went in looking for a potato masher. And once I found this small appliance, I completely forgot about the potato masher and contemplated a bigger purchase… a KitchenAid Stand Mixer! The pros: It was half price and worked. The cons: No package or instruction manual and there’s a missing screw, so the KitchenAid decal does not fasten to the front of the mixer. I’m pretty excited about this purchase and have already used it to make breakfast (potato pancakes) and am planning some banana bread for later this week.

Venison Stew

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons grapeseed oil, divided – approximate cost $0.10
  • 220 grams (about 1/2 pound) bacon, chopped – approximate cost $3.00
  • 575 grams (about 1 1/4 pounds) venison stewing meat (chopped into approximately 1/2 inch cubes) – approximate cost $12.00
  • 5 small carrots, chopped into bite-sized pieces – approximate cost $2.00
  • 1 large sweet onions, roughly chopped – approximate cost $0.75
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced – approximate cost $0.75
  • 220 grams (about 1/2 pound) crimini mushrooms, quartered – approximate cost $2.50
  • 2 cups red wine (I used Catastrophe Red, made by Cattail Creek Winery) – approximate cost $6.00
  • 4 cups beef broth – approximate cost $2.00
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 156ml can of tomato paste – approximate cost $0.60
  • 8 small potatoes, quartered (I used Klondike Gold Dust potatoes) – approximate cost $1.50
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05

Method

  1. Preheat a large pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the bacon and cook until crispy.
  3. Remove and set aside.
  4. Brown the venison meat
  5. Remove and set aside.
  6. Heat 1 teaspoon of grapeseed oil in a large pot.
  7. Add the onions and cook until they begin to soften and brown (about 5-7 minutes).
  8. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant (about 1 minute).
  9. Add the mushrooms and cook until browned (about 5 minutes).
  10. Add the bacon and venison back into the pot.
  11. Mix well.
  12. Add the carrots and mix in.
  13. Add the red wine, beef broth, rosemary, and thyme.
  14. Reduce the heat to medium-low.
  15. Cover and cook for at least 2 hours.
  16. Prepare the potatoes about half way through cooking the stew.
    1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
    2. Place the potato pieces in baking dish.
    3. Toss potatoes with 1 teaspoon of grapeseed oil and salt.
    4. Roast for about 40 minutes (or until potatoes are browned and tender).
  17. Stir the tomato paste into the stew, stirring constantly until it is mixed in.
  18. Add the potatoes and mix well.
  19. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Makes about 6 servings (approximate cost: $5.24 per serving).

Wednesday Link Parties

Cast Party Wednesday

White Lights on Wednesdays

Spicy, Slow-Cooked Beef Chili

Things have been crazy busy since I returned to school. Between readings, projects, group meetings, scholarship applications, and whatnot, I feel like I’ve barely had time to cook. To address this, I make big meals on Sunday evening and pack it up into portions that we enjoy throughout the week for lunch and dinner.

One of my go-to favourites is chili. I love chili because it’s hearty, because it’s so versatile, and because I can put it in the slow cooker and come home to a delicious warm meal. I can add just about everything in my pantry and it will still be a yummy chili. Last winter, I made what Bryan calls Texas-style chili. To me, it’s just chili. For the Improv Challenge in August, I made a soup with tomatoes and Anaheim chile peppers, this is more along the lines of what Bryan thinks of as chile. Despite our differing definitions, we both very much enjoy chili (despite that I always slip some chickpeas into the mix, one of Bryan’s least favourite foods, he never complains, what a great guy.).

I went a bit overboard when making chili the other week. I had forgotten just how many servings it makes and added wayyy more herbs and spices than usual. I wanted something different from my usual chili. Unfortunately, our freezer is very full, so there was no rooms to save the leftovers for later. So we ate chili, at least once per day, for nearly a week. Next time, I’ll cut this recipe in half. Or make sure I have plenty of freezer space to save some for another time.

What’s your favourite meal to make in the slow-cooker during the fall months?

Spicy, Slow-Cooked Beef Chili

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds stewing beef, cut into 1/2 inch cubes – approximate cost $8.00
  • 2 cups beef stock – approximate cost $1.50
  • 1 12 ounce can of tomato paste – approximate cost $1.25
  • 1 28 ounce can of whole tomatoes, diced and liquid reserved – approximate cost $1.25
  • 1 cup dried red kidney beans – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 cup dried white kidney beans – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 cup dried chickpeas beans – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 large Spanish onion, diced – approximate cost $0.75
  • 400 grams crimini mushrooms, chopped – approximate cost $2.00
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced – approximate cost $0.40
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder – approximate cost $0.40
  • 1 tablespoon cumin – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1 tablespoon paprika – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper (less if you want to tone down the spiciness) – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1 tablespoon dried cilantro – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (about 1/4 cup to top each serving) – approximate cost $1.50
  • Baguette (for serving) – approximate cost $2.00

Method

  1. Soak the dried beans.
    1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
    2. Add dried beans.
    3. Let cook for 5 minutes.
    4. Turn the stove off.
    5. Put a lid on the pot.
    6. Remove pot from the burner.
    7. Allow the beans soak for at least 1 hour.
  2. Prepare the beef, garlic, and onion.
    1. Heat the grapeseed oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat.
    2. Sautee the minced garlic for 1 minute.
    3. Add the onion to the frying pan and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes. or until the onion softens.
    4. Add the stewing beef and cook until browned.
  3. Putting it all together in the slow cooker.
    1. Add the tomato paste, diced tomatoes (and liquid), chili powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, Italian Seasoning, cilantro, sea salt, black pepper to the slow cooker first.
    2. Stir well so the flavours mix well with the liquid.
    3. Add the browned stewing beef mixture, soaked beans, crimini mushrooms.
    4. Mix again.
    5. There should be enough liquid to cover the chili. If not, add more beef stock.
    6. Cook at low temperature for about 6 hours (or high temperature for about 4 hours).
  4. Serve topped with shredded cheese and baguette on the side.

Makes about 12 servings (approximate cost: $1.83 per serving).

Monday Link Parties

Photobucket

mop it up mondays


Salad with Organic Peppered Greens, Heirloom Tomatoes, and Cucumber

The steak tartare appetizer went over well. But it was definitely a bit too much for two people. So, for the next hour we chatted and hung out at the dinner table, enjoying some wine gifted to me by one of my best friends (her dad made the wine). The wine was fantastic and Bryan agreed. It’s not often we agree on wine!

Because the appetizer was so filling, the dinner itself was light, meat and a salad (we had plenty of carbs to fill us up from the baguette). Next up was a lovely salad.

Salad with Organic Peppered Greens, Heirloom Tomatoes, and Cucumber

Ingredients

  • 1/8 pound organic peppery salad greens (spicy) – approximate cost $2.00
  • 4 small heirloom tomatoes, sliced – approximate cost $2.00
  • 2 mini cucumbers, sliced – approximate cost $0.50
  • 4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar – approximate cost $0.50

Method

  1. Divide the greens into two bowls.
  2. Divide the tomato and cucumber slices evenly between the two bowls.
  3. Drizzle each salad with 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

Makes 2 servings (approximate cost: $2.50 per serving).

From my cookbook collection: Chicken Jalfrezi

Happy Birthday Bryan (The Official Taste Tester here at The Cook’s Sister)! Today, I’m going to celebrate his birthday by sharing links back to some of his favourite foods that I’ve blogged about and share a new recipe that he was very fond of. Check out some of Bryan’s favourites:

As you can probably tell, he really likes Southwest inspired foods and flavours. But… today I’m going to share a recipe from an Indian food cook book that I received as a birthday gift from my best friend a few years ago.

The book is Cooking School: Indian (ISBN 978-1-4075-6263-6 from Parragon Books). Why do I love this book? All of the recipes are formatted to fit on one page. There are beautiful pictures of the dish on the 2-page fold. The directions are broken down to be simple and clear. And best of all, everything I’ve made from this book has bee delicious, tasting just as good as the Indian food at our local restaurants (sometimes the recipes are a variation of what we’re used to, but always fantastic). I’ve made the Tandoori chicken, butter chicken, and now, the chicken jalfrezi.

This book has sat on my shelf for a while. I’ve read through and bookmarked recipes of my favourite dishes at restaurants when I first got it. I’ve thought about giving a few things a try, always dismissing it for one reason or another. It looks too time consuming, I don’t have time to marinate the meat, or I don’t want the apartment to smell like curry for a week were a few of my excuses. So, about a month ago, I finally cracked the cookbook, leafed through the recipes I had bookmarked, and decided on one that I would make.

Afterwards, I contacted the publisher to see if I could share the recipe with you (and, as I’m sure you’ve already guessed, they said yes!). And so the cooking began. I’m not very familiar with cooking Indian food, so I made a  trip to the grocery store and stuck mostly to the original recipe. I added some yellow pepper for colour and used fresh grape tomatoes instead of canned tomatoes. The result? A yummy chicken jalfrezi!

This recipe is about a medium-spicy dish. If you want to turn up the heat,  add more tumeric, cumin, coriander, chili powder, and garam masala. Similarly, use less of these ingredients if you want the dish to be more mild.

Do you stick to a recipe when making new dishes? Or do you feel comfortable making substitutions?

Chicken Jalfrezi

Recipe from Cooking School: Indian (ISBN 978-1-4075-6263-6, http://www.parragon.com), posted with permission from the publisher

Ingredients

  • 1 pound /9 ounces /500 grams skinless, boneless chicken thighs (or breasts) – approximate cost $4.50
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 teaspoon salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped – approximate cost $0.75
  • 2 teaspoons garlic paste – approximate cost $0.10
  • 2 teaspoons ginger paste – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1/2 teaspoon tumeric – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon chili powder – approximate cost $0.10
  • 5 1/2 ounces / 150 grams canned chopped tomatoes – approximate cost $1.10
  • 2/3 cup warm water
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 small or 1/2 large red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch / 2.5 centimeter pieces – approximate cost $1.50
  • 1 small or 1/2 large green bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch / 2.5 centimeter pieces – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala – approximate cost $0.10
  • Indian (naan) bread or cooked basmati rice to serve – approximate cost $0.50

Method

  1. Cut the chicken into  1-inch / 2.5 centimeter cubes and put in a nonmetallic bowl. Add the lemon juice and half the salt and rub well into the chicken. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.
  2. Heat 4 tablespoons of the oil in a medium, heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, for 8-9 minutes, until lightly browned. Add the garlic paste and ginger paste and cook, stirring for 3 minutes. Add the tumeric, cumin, coriander, and chili powder and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, until the oil seperates from the spice paste.
  3. Add the marinated chicken, increase the heat slightly, and cook, stirring, until it changes colour. Add the warm water and bring to a boil, Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes.
  4. Heat the remaining oil in a small saucepan or skillet over low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until browned. Add the bell peppers, increase the heat to medium, and stir-fry for 2 minutes, the, stir in the garam masala. Fold the bell pepper mixture into the curry. Remove from the heat, and serve immediately with Indian bread or cooked basmati rice.

Makes about 4 servings (approximate cost: $2.80 per serving).

Wednesday Link Parties

Cast Party Wednesday

White Lights on Wednesdays

Homemade Tomato Pizza Sauce

I spent my first weekend out of town this summer. By weekend, I mean Sunday. One day away was enough though. It was gorgeous. The sun was shining, and I saw my family for the first time in about a month. We chat a few times a week, so I hear from them regularly, but it was nice to spend a day together. And I missed the dogs, so it was good to see them too. We went to Grand Bend area for the day. Shopped at a flea market where I got the cutest two tea cups. I feel the need to invite someone over to have a tea party. I want a reason to bring out these gorgeous cups.

Then off to a park where my dad and step-mom camp every weekend during the summer months. We went down to the beach for a swim. The water was gorgeous! I didn’t take my camera there, I wanted to swim as opposed to sitting on shore watching. Then back up to the campsite for a short rest. Dad and I then took the dogs out to the field to play frisbee.

Both dogs love chasing the frisbee, but Rebel always gets there first. He’s much faster than Rascal, for now.

Rebel loves this game. He loves to run. He loves to please you by bringing the frisbee back. He’d play all day if we let him.

Rascal, on the other hand, will chase the frisbee a few times and then gets tired. Half way through or so he decided to come sit in my lap while I took pictures of Rebel.

We took a short walk just before dinner to an overlook.

We had a fantastic dinner of steaks, baked potatoes, and Nana’s homemade coleslaw.

However, I didn’t get any pictures of dinner, so I’m going to share homemade pizza sauce. Last week I bought some ready made pizza crusts and some delicious toppings. I was all excited about the pizza I was about to make for lunch, opened the fridge, and realized that I was out of tomato sauce. I didn’t really feel like making a second trip to the grocery store, so I searched the Internet instead, hoping the find a recipe that would allow me to use the ingredients I already had at home. Many recipes called for tomato paste and canned tomatoes, which, oddly, I didn’t have on hand that day. I had fresh tomatoes, surely that would make a tastier sauce?

Anyway, I was very happy with the resulting sauce. It took longer to cook than I would have liked, but I think I was just being really impatient. I was hungry and had expected to make a quick lunch. Instead, it took closer to half an hour before lunch was ready. If you have the time, this sauce is well worth the wait!

When making homemade pizza, do you make your own sauce or use a store-bought sauce?

Pizza Sauce

Adapted from New York Style Pizza Sauce (seriouseats.com)

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe tomatoes, diced – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1/2 red onion, diced – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil – approximate cost $0.10
  • 2 garlic cloves – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning – approximate cost $0.10
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper – approximate cost $0.05
  • Pinch of sea salt – approximate cost $0.05

Method

  1. Place all of the ingredients in a blender.
  2. Blend for about 20 seconds (trying the keep the sauce a bit chunky).
  3. Pour the sauce into a medium-sized pot.
  4. Cook on medium heat until the sauce is reduced and thick (about 20 minutes), stirring once in a while to make sure it doesn’t burn.
  5. Remove from heat.
  6. Spread the sauce over pizza crust.

Makes enough sauce for a 6-9 inch pizza (approximate cost: $2.00).

Monday Link Parties

Photobucket

mop it up mondays

Mouthwatering Mondays

Improv Challenge: Tomatoes and Peppers

I’m excited to be participating in another Improv Challenge hosted by Kristen from Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker (my fourth month participating)! Each month I strive to come up with something a bit more exciting or creative than the last.

So far, I’ve shared:

This month, the challenge ingredients are tomatoes and peppers.

This month is the first time that I’m not sharing the dish I had initially made for the challenge. Over the weekend, I made a curry-like dish with chicken, peppers, and tomatoes. It was good, but tasted a bit more like Mexican food than Indian food. I was a bit disappointed by this because it didn’t pair very well with naan bread. Also, it was wayyyy too spicy for me! I ate half a bowl. Even Bryan mentioned that it was spicy (his tolerance level is much higher than mine). He was able to finish, but was surprised I made it as far through the meal as I did. Because I was unsatisfied with the results, I haven’t have much inspiration to write about the experience, nor did I want to share the recipe as part of the Improv Challenge (I may share it in a week or so).

Instead, I made a last minute trip to the grocery store on Tuesday while running other errands to pick up more peppers and tomatoes so I could try again. Earlier in the day, I had been reading a blog post series on Chiles at MJ’s Kitchen. The posts were very informative, explaining that “the green chile pepper [is] called by many names – New Mexico chile, Anaheim pepper, California chile, Hatch, Big Jim, Rio Grande and Sandia – to name a few” (MJ’s Kitchen). I’d never heard it called California pepper, Big Jim, Rio Grande or Sandia! I was even a bit skeptical that an Anaheim pepper would be the same, though I’ve heard the peppers called by that name before.

Reminiscing about the amazing food in the Southwest US. I wanted green chiles afterwards, but that’s not something that’s regularly sold around here. In fact, the only Hatch Chiles I’ve seen are dried red chiles sold at specialty stores with a fairly high price tag. It’s always good, but not quite the same as green chiles.

Very much to my surprise, there was a large basket of “Anaheim Peppers” at the grocery store this week. I had to have them. The price was also surprisingly reasonable. Here’s hoping that they will start to carry these chile peppers regularly!

I’ve never really cooked with green chiles. My experience with them has mostly been meals someone else has cooked or take-out. So, for this Improv Challenge, I’m sharing one of Bryan’s recipes that I’ve adapted. This is one of the few things he would cook for me when we first met!

Green Chile Pepper and Tomato Soup

Adapted from Bryan’s recipe (I think he said he learned this from his family?)

Ingredients

  • 500 grams lean (or extra lean) ground beef – approximate cost $5.50
  • 10 fresh green chile peppers (New Mexico chile, Anaheim pepper, California chile, Hatch chile, Big Jim chile, Rio Grandechile or Sandia chile) – approximate cost $3.50
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1 can diced tomatoes – approximate cost $1.25
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1/2 cup water

Method

  1. Roast the chile peppers, making sure all sides are roasted (so the skins will peel away easily later).
  2. Set the roasted chile peppers in the fridge to cool.
  3. Remove the cooled chile peppers from the fridge.
  4. Roll each of the chile peppers to loosen the seeds.
  5. Cut off the tops of the chile peppers.
  6. Pour out as many seeds as possible.
    1. If you want the soup spicy, reserve a few of the seeds.
    2. If you want the soup mild, gently wash the inside of the peppers with cold water to remove the remaining seeds.
  7. Wash your hands very well with lots of soap and avoid rubbing your eyes for a while to ensure the chile peppers will not burn you.
  8. Peel the roasted skin away from the chile pepper.
  9. Discard the skin.
  10. Dice the chile peppers.
  11. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pot.
  12. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
  13. Add the ground beef.
  14. Break the beef into pieces using a wooden spoon.
  15. Brown the beef (there shouldn’t be any more pink).
  16. Add the chile peppers.
  17. Mix well.
  18. Add the diced tomatoes (as well as the liquid from the can).
  19. Mix well.
  20. Add half cup water (the beef mixture should be just covered by the liquid.
  21. Bring to a boil.
  22. Add the sea salt.
  23. Taste the broth and add more salt if necessary.
  24. Remove from heat.
  25. Serve hot in soup bowls.

Makes 4 servings (approximate cost: $2.65 per serving).



Beef Burgers with Bacon and Red Onion

These burgers are from a few weeks ago. I delayed posting them because I didn’t want all of my posts to be about burgers. I didn’t want you to get bored… and I didn’t want to get bored of writing about burgers. I’ve been making a lot of burgers in the last few months. I make burgers at work and then come home and make more burgers (mind you, mine are a bit more fun because I can put all kinds of ingredients in them).

These burgers in particular were not planned. They were a last minute “you’re leaving at what time and need burgers!?” creation. I was going to roast some Anaheim peppers and add them to the mixture, but there just wasn’t enough time. I hadn’t panned on adding bacon or onion for that matter. I wasn’t very happy with the burger mixture because I had to make last minute changes. Despite that, they were very good. Bryan took two over to a friend’s place to cook for dinner… he tells me everyone else thought they looked and smelled amazing.

I kept two at home for us. I was much less disappointed with the burgers once they were cooked and served for dinner.

Have you ever had to make an unplanned meal in a hurry? How did it turn out?

Beef Burgers with Bacon and Red Onion

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef – approximate cost $4.50
  • 1 egg – approximate cost $0.35
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs – approximate cost $0.75
  • 4 slices of bacon – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1/2 red onion – approximate cost $0.30
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 8 slices of old cheddar cheese (about 200 grams) – approximate cost $2.00
  • 4 cheese buns – approximate cost $2.00

Method

  1. Cook the bacon (I baked it in the oven).
  2. Grate the red onion.
  3. Crumble the bacon.
  4. Combine the ground beef, egg, breadcrumbs, onion, bacon, Italian seasoning, sea salt and black pepper in a large mixing bowl.
  5. Mix thoroughly using your hands (but be careful not to over-work the meat, that will make it tough).
  6. Divide the beef mixture into 4 portions.
  7. Shape each portion into a burger patty.
  8. Cook the burger patties any way you like!
    1. Barbecue the burgers until cooked through and slightly toast the buns.
    2. Fry the burgers over medium-high heat.
    3. Grill the burgers on a counter-top grill.
    4. Broil the burgers in the oven, turning once to cook both sides.
  9. Serve on cheese buns with two slices of old cheddar cheese and your favourite toppings!

Serving Suggestions

Serve with slices of your favourite vegetables and condiments.

Vegetables

  • Red onion
  • Spanish onion
  • Tomato
  • Lettuce
  • Avocado

Condiments

  • Barbecue sauce
  • Mayo
  • Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • Relish
  • Dill relish

Makes 4 servings (approximate cost: $2.79 per serving + toppings and condiments).

Monday Link Parties

Photobucket

mop it up mondays

Mouthwatering Mondays

%d bloggers like this: