Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Lesson Learned

Yesterday was just and epic sucky day from beginning to end. It isn't that anything particularly bad happened. I was just tired. I mean really, REALLY tired. Tired to the point where I just didn't give a shit about anything and all I could think about was getting my ass home and back to bed. Somehow before that could happen I had to get dinner on the table. UGH! That meant casserole. That meant the easiest casserole I could think of. Now, I don't make a lot of casseroles so I am on a learning curve with them (still). All I knew is that there was no way in hell I was going to do anything more than throw a bunch of stuff in a casserole dish, turn the oven timer on and do absolutely nothing until the oven went DING! The end result of my exercise in minimalism turned out quite tasty but took a hell of a lot longer to cook than expected. In the future I now know that I should bring the cooking liquid to a boil prior to mixing it in the casserole and baking it. That would cut the cooking time in half and keep the kitchen from becoming an inferno because the oven has been on for two hours. Instant rice might be a good idea too. Lesson Learned.

Erika's Too Tired to Cook (or do anything else)Casserole

1 1/2 C long grained white rice
2 medium sized broccoli crowns, chopped
1-2 C chopped cooked ham
1 C shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 can cheddar cheese soup
3 C chicken broth
1 Tbs chopped garlic

Put rice, cheese, ham and broccoli in a casserole dish.
In a separate bowl wisk together broth, soup, and garlic. Stir into casserole dish. Cover and bake 2 hours, stirring occasionally, or until rice is cooked. Add more broth if necessary. salt snd pepper to taste

Thursday, June 16, 2011


I have a sudden urge to eat baked beans and brown bread!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Beat-a da Heat-a Fajitas!

So, last week we had out first official heat wave here in New England. Although you'd be hard pressed to believe that after the damp and chilly weekend we just had. I am talking near 100 degree days with oppressive humidity. It sucked! But I still managed to get out a nice dinner without having to slave in front of a hot stove for too long. FAJITAS! I had actually forgotten how easy and how tasty these could be, it had been so long since I last had them. Plus the cool toppings made for a refreshing yet hearty meal on such a hot day. Here is how it went...First I started with a fairly thick London Broil. Yes, I know, normally fajitas are made with flank steak or skirt steak and when those cuts go on sale for $1.99 per pound I assure you I will use them. Here and now, I had London Broil so that is what I used. I marinaded the steak overnight in a bottled salsa verde. When it came time for dinner I took the steak out of the marinade and rubbed it with some adobo seasoning (Penzey's - good stuff!)and let it sit while I prepped the veggies. The vegetables were simply sliced red bell peppers and vidalia onions and some chopped garlic. All that got put into a large skillet with a little oil and the remaining marinade from the steak. I quickly cooked that over high heat while husband threw the steak on the grill. The veggies were cooked until crisp tender and the steak to a medium-rare. The steak, once cooked, was sliced as thinly as possible and transferred to a platter. After a quick toss with some freshly chopped cilantro the veggies joined the steak and dinner was ready to serve. We used small flour tortillas, fresh salsa, sour cream, guacamole and shedded cheddar cheese to build our fajitas and we ate until we were about to burst. Both husband and I really enjoyed this meal and the thinly sliced London broil worked just fine in place of flank or skirt steak. Give it a try. You won't be disappointed!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Summer Classic

POTATO SALAD! Mmmm, i love it! i try not to make it too often because I really have no self discipline when it comes to potatoes and will eat them until I burst! Yesterday I finally got around to making a batch. I had to, really, as the potatoes were starting to grow in my cupboard. So I boiled them the night before and when I got home from work today all I had to do was peel and chop them. Easy Peasy but sticky, LOL! This recipe is a favorite of mine and most people who try it really dig it. I came up with it in college when a friend of mine and I decided to have a cookout but had no idea how to make potato salad. So we called up everyone we knew and asked them how they made theirs. We had a pretty long list of ingredients by the time we were done! Then we went to our respective kitchens to see what on the list was in our cupboards and refrigerators since, as starving college students, we weren't going to buy anything special. This was the end product and I have been making it ever since. Normally I dislike recipes that are product specific but for this one you really do need the right pickles or it just won't taste right. Sorry, but that's just the way it is.

Erika and Liz's Dilly Potato Salad

5 pounds of potatoes, boiled peeled and diced
1/2 C chopped sweet onion
2-3 Claussen Kosher Dill pickles, chopped
2-3 Tbs pickle juice
1-2C mayo
Salt to taste (Don't be shy)
Generous shake of black pepper
handful of fresh dill, chopped

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl until incorporated, Chill before serving.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Trouble with Teriyaki

So, last nights dinner was great, I mean super duper great. What made it that way was, in part, due to the fact that we kept it very simple. Both Husband and I still hadn't fully recovered from the holiday weekend debauchery and, quite frankly, we were tired (for the record he was crabby AND tired). As luck would have it, the steak I intended to cook Friday was still marinading in the refrigerator. I had marinaded it in a bottled teriyaki sauce. Now, I love teriyaki but it's really hard to find a version that works for me. I did find a recipe many years ago but neglected to note which cookbook it came from and have yet to find it again. Same goes for bottled stuff - I can't seem find one I really like. Most of the time it's just too salty whether I buy it from a bottle or make it from scratch! The marinade I used this time around was part old bottled stuff that I didn't particularly like all that much and part new bottled stuff that I hadn't tried yet. Together they were da bomb! The old stuff wasn't sweet enough and a tad too salty. I have a feeling the new stuff was very sweet because it was REALLY thick when I poured it into the bowl with the steak. I haven't tried it by itself to confirm that though. I now wonder if it would be too sweet by itself and whether I need to keep buying both brands to mix up the teriyaki sauce of my desires. LOL! Hey I'll do it if I have to!!!! Anyway, after four days in the teriyaki bath, the steak (flank steak, btw) grilled up to sweet, flavor-filled perfection. To accompany the steak we also grilled up some zucchini - again very simple - just butter, garlic, sliced zucchini and salt in a foil packet and finished the meal with a standard boxed rice that I added some sliced carrots to. Everything worked together beautifully and was quick and easy to make. Even Mr. Crankypants was pleased!