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Your dinner looks better than mine!

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Apples-Plus Sauce [Feb. 27th, 2009|06:02 pm]
Your dinner looks better than mine!

I've been fooling around with applesauce formulations recently. Here's the latest winner:

2 fuji apples
2 granny smith apples
2 comice pears
1 handful of Craisins
1 teaspoon ginger paste (from The Ginger People)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp five spice
1/2 - 1 cup sugar - depends on the ripeness of your fruit and your sweet tooth

Core, peel and chop pears and apples into 1" cubes or so. Put in a large-ish pot with water to cook. I really don't know how much water because I do it differently every time. Basically, enough water to get the fruit cooking without burning while also doing laundry and dishes while you're waiting for the fruit to cook. I cook best when I multitask. I also cook most of the water back off.
When the fruit is mushy, add the Craisins. Let sit for a few minutes so the Craisins have time to absorb liquid. Then squash it all with a potato masher. Mash it as smooth or chunky as you like it. Then add the spices. Add sugar to taste. Keep the heat on long enough for the sugar to melt into the fruit mash and to cook off as much water as you like.

Serve warm or cold. Refrigerate any leftovers for a week or so.
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I can smell dinner, and it's not even noon. [Feb. 23rd, 2009|10:49 am]
Your dinner looks better than mine!

a couple of weeks ago i made a pot roast in my crock pot.
i had no idea how this would go over with my family, but i'd found a recipe that sounded delicious and simple and since i was working at the temp job, i wanted to come home to a hot meal.
so i put it together, ran to work, called home to get the kids to make a pot of barley, and voila.

what i did not expect was that it was SO good, i could have served it at a ... holy hell, batman, i can't remember how to spell restaurant. dang, that was weird. had to look it up! lost that first "a." reminds me that once, in college, i was taking a final exam and forgot how to spell the word "what." the "h" eluded me.

so anyway, that pot roast got rave reviews even from my rob, who dislikes beef. elmo couldn't stop talking about it, and when i made soup out of the last of the leftovers, he went all crazy yummy over that, too.

i took a typical hunk of pot roast (what is that? round? shoulder? something.) and floured it and browned it in a little garlic olive oil. i put one can of cream of mushroom soup in an oven bag in the crockpot, threw a packet of onion soup mix on top, and put half a cup of water in the hot pan to get the browned bits out and threw that in. i know it sounds very 1950s but it really was good.

the thing is, it made a real gravy instead of that eewwwy water that sometimes comes out of having a crock pot meal. the flour and the little bit of water collaborated with the soup. so. that's my dinner. i smells it.
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Roast goose [Jan. 6th, 2009|09:58 am]
Your dinner looks better than mine!


Christmasroasts5030, originally uploaded by Semioticghosts.

I blog something like this every year, I fear. What you are seeing is the carved roast goose in the foreground, stuffing in the middle, and the roast chicken in the background.

In any case, we tried something new with the goose this year - roasted at 220 degrees for an hour before bedtime on the day before, then left to roast covered overnight at 80 degrees (all Celsius). Lots of fat roasted out of it, which was poured off in the morning. an hour before service, the goose was turned back up to 180 degrees and heated for an hour, turned once halfway. All these timings are approximate, depending on how crispy you like the skin, the effectiveness of your oven etc.
This produced crispy skin, moist, succulent flesh and a very tasty goose overall.

The stuffing was a quarter sausagemeat and three quarters lean minced beef. I added a lot of fresh thyme, about a third of that again in fresh rosemary, a little smoked paprika, cracked black pepper, salt, roughly crumbled rye bread soaked in sherry, chopped onion, chopped, dried apricots and freshly skinned, toasted whole almonds.
I pre-cooked it all, as I can't taste raw stuffing, and then chilled it before it went into the birds.

It was yummy (even though that means blowing my own trumpet), and works really well when just served with rice and vegetables or some such. [cross-posted to my journal]

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Angel Hair with Pumpkin and Sage [Oct. 26th, 2008|10:20 pm]
Your dinner looks better than mine!

[music |Fleet Foxes, "Tiger Mountain Peasant Song"]

Tonight I made this recipe from a Washington Post special on comfort food for a slow economy. It was scrumptious. The recipe calls for milk to keep things on the light side, but I happened to have some cream on hand so I used that instead along with some of a small pie pumpkin I had roasted. "It's just like you're eating a cheese sauce," said my friend, "only healthier and more delicious."


* 8 to 10 ounces multigrain angel-hair pasta, such as Barilla brand
* 1 medium shallot
* 3 medium cloves garlic
* 2 sprigs sage leaves
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 3/4 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
* 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
* 1/2 cup low-fat milk
* Kosher salt
* Freshly ground black pepper
* 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions (6 to 7 minutes).

Meanwhile, mince the shallot and garlic; finely chop the sage.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic; cook for 3 minutes, stirring, until they have softened. Add the pumpkin puree, chicken broth, milk and half of the sage. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the sauce is slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste; keep warm on the lowest setting.

Drain the pasta and add to the sauce, then add 2 tablespoons of the cheese and mix well. Divide among individual plates and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of cheese and the remaining sage.

Recipe Source:

Adapted from "The Ski House Cookbook," by Tina Anderson and Sarah Pinneo (Clarkson Potter, 2007).
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Quick Apple Chicken -- YUM! [Sep. 30th, 2008|10:20 pm]
Your dinner looks better than mine!


Quick Apple Chicken
Originally uploaded by Antof9.
I bought three shiny red apples at the store the other day. Unk ate one on Sunday, and I had one last night. It was pretty disappointing, and I didn't want either of us to have to eat the last one.

So it hits me: I want to use that apple with chicken for dinner! As is my custom, I Googled for inspiration, and found a recipe I almost followed on AllRecipes.com.

Apple Chicken
Olive oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into quarter-inch strips
1 apple, in small cubes (I love the way the red apple made this look)
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 teaspoon each: cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons tarragon

Heat the olive oil in a skillet, and then dump the chicken in. We're back to faux-woking :)

Once the chicken is mostly cooked through (5-8 minutes), add the apples and spices, stirring lots. Should be done in 10-15 minutes.

Good over brown rice.

(I used 1 teaspoon of garlic salt first, and then added more salt and a little pepper after tasting. Was just right with a sprinkling of table salt at serving)

This could easily get dry. I generally use a lot less oil than any recipe calls for (this one called for 2 1/2 Tablespoons), which was fine, but by the time I added the apples, it needed a splash or two more. What I think might have made this perfect? A couple shots of apple juice at the end. That's definitely what I'll do next time. And buh-LIEVE me, there will definitely be a next time. This is a great combination of spices, and was truly awesome! (I also think this would be good with curry spices ...)
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