Food From Home

Cooking at home for fun, health and frugality!

Chicken Fried Rice

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Yesterday was Amethesto’s birthday and I spent the day making her chocolate chip pancakes, apple pie, cheeseburger sliders, spaghetti and garlic bread. It felt like I was in the kitchen pretty much all day. I like cooking but that is a bit much in one day!
Tonight’s dinner was chicken fried rice which was easy. Such a nice break from yesterday! I used my food processor to quickly shred and chop the vegetables. If you have leftover chicken or rice you can use it in this dish and save some time.
When we get food from a Chinese restaurant we always get chicken fried rice. It is the only thing Amethesto will order. I’ve tried several different chicken fried rice recipes at home and my family likes this version pretty well… even my picky eater likes it. Hagbard likes taking the leftovers with him to work for his lunch.

Chicken Fried Rice
egg mixture:
1 T cooking oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil

vegetable, meat and rice mixture:
1 1/2 T cooking oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 c carrot, finely chopped
1/2 c celery, finely chopped
2 cups shredded cabbage
1/2 c peas
6 oz cooked chicken, chopped
4 c cold cooked rice
4 green onions, chopped
1/4 c soy sauce or to taste
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp black pepper

Heat 1 T of oil in pan over medium heat. Mix egg with soy sauce and sesame oil. Add egg to pan and cook until set. Flip over and cook the other side briefly. Cut into small pieces and set aside.
In a large pan, add 1 T cooking oil and heat over medium high heat. Add onion, carrot, and celery. Cook 8-10 minutes. Add chicken, peas, cabbage and cook 2 minutes. Add 1/2 T oil, rice, green onion, garlic powder, black pepper, soy sauce and egg. Cook 1 minute.
Makes about 4-6 servings.

From my home to yours,
Lounmoun

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Chicken Adobo

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This dish is one of Hagbard’s favorites. It takes about an hour to make so not a fast dinner but not very complicated. The chicken is really tender and the skin gets nice and crisp. I use chicken thighs with the skin on but you could also cut up a whole chicken. We usually have this with rice and a vegetable.


 

Chicken Adobo

1/2 c soy sauce

1/2 c apple cider vinegar

1/3 c brown sugar

1/2 c water

1 onion, sliced

1 T garlic, minced

2 bay leaves

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 1/2 c coconut milk

1 lb-4 lb cut up chicken parts (skin on)

Combine soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, water, garlic, onion, bay leaves, pepper, and 3/4 c of the coconut milk in a large covered skillet or saucepan. Reserve the remaining coconut milk for later. Bring mixture to a boil over high heat. Add the chicken in a single layer to the pan and reduce heat to medium. Cook about 20 minutes.

Heat oven to 450 F. Remove chicken from liquid and put in a baking dish. Place in oven and roast about 20 minutes- turning a few times- or until brown and crispy. Meanwhile, add the remaining coconut milk to the sauce and bring to a boil. Cook until reduced to about 1 cup- about 20 minutes. Serve warm sauce with chicken.


 

From my home to yours,

Lounmoun

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Easter Breakfast: Strawberry Rolls With Vanilla Glaze

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I got up around 5 AM today to make some breakfast rolls and deviled eggs. The deviled eggs are standard for Easter but these strawberry rolls are something new to try this year.
http://bakerbynature.com/strawberry-rolls-with-vanilla-glaze/
I didn’t change the recipe. What I would suggest is that when you are instructed to roll the dough tightly that they don’t really mean all that tight or all your strawberry filling will be pushed out even with the 1″ border. I had the majority of the filling ooze onto the counter the first time I rolled. I had to unroll and scoop the filling back on the dough and roll somewhat more loosely.
I made 12 rolls because it fit better in my 8″ x 8″ baking dish and divides more evenly among 3 people than an odd number like 10 or 11. If you have kids are probably painfully aware that they like equal amounts when it comes to food. My finished rolls ended up being about 2″ across and 2″ high.
I sampled a warm roll while cooking my hard boiled eggs. They were light and fluffy. The flavor was pretty subtle and lightly sweet- mostly the flavor came from the vanilla glaze. The strawberry wasn’t really screaming strawberry to me. I think I would like it better if there were also a cinnamon or lemon flavor with the strawberry…maybe in the dough. The rest of the family has not surfaced yet to give them a try so this is just my sleepy opinion.
Hey! It’s 9 AM now. The cat is having her second breakfast/snack… how often do hobbit cat’s eat? Oh, she’s done. I probably freaked her out staring at her eating. Well, following the cat around and reporting on her activities doesn’t get deviled eggs made… or does it? Nope. No little elves have made the eggs for me.

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PJ cat says petting her is more important than cooking.

Back to work. 🐇

ETA: Hagbard and Amethesto did get up and try the rolls and liked them.

From my home to yours,
Lounmoun

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Not My Mother’s Potato Soup

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When I was growing up we often had a very simple potato soup. My mom would cut up potatoes and  onions and put them in a pot with water and boil them. She would add salt and pepper. She would add some milk. Occasionally, she would add cooked ground beef. That was her potato soup. It wasn’t bad but very simple.

My older sister worked in the kitchen of a nursing home in high school and college and she brought home the idea of adding cheese to potato soup. Cheese! I love cheese and started making the soup with cheese and adding canned cream of mushroom soup.

I stopped using canned cream of mushroom soup several years ago and just began looking for a better way to make my potato soup. There are a ton of potato soup recipes in cookbooks and on the internet. I took ideas from several sources. In my final version, I kept the cheese but added things like celery and carrot and chicken broth. I added different spices like dill weed and cayenne pepper. I started cooking the onions in butter before adding them to the soup.  Here is my version that has come so far from my mother’s simple potato soup.


 

Lounmoun’s Potato Soup

3-4 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced

3 oz carrot, chopped

3-5 oz celery, chopped

4 c water or chicken broth

1/2 medium onion, chopped

3 T  butter

3 T  flour

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp dill weed

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

1 1/2 c milk

8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded

In a large saucepan over medium heat put potatoes carrots, celery and water or broth. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer 10-20 minutes until potatoes are tender. Remove vegetables and reserve liquid.

Add butter to pot and melt over medium heat. Cook onion in butter until soft and translucent. Stir in flour, salt, black pepper, cayenne and dill weed. Cook 2 minutes. Gradually add milk while whisking. Bring to a low boil and cook 2-5 minutes until thickened. Add cheese and stir until melted. Add reserved vegetables and stir. Gradually add reserved liquid while stirring until desired consistency is reached. Makes about 6 servings.

Note: If you have leftover liquid you could freeze it to use in other recipes. I used 1/2 to 3/4 of the reserved liquid in my soup.


 

I took some poor pictures of the process tonight to include in this post. I cut the celery, onion and carrots toward the smallish side with my food processor so my people will eat them. You could have bigger pieces of those vegetables if you prefer.

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potato chunks, chopped carrot and celery

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vegetables and broth

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onion and flour mixture cooking

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after adding the milk

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adding the cheese and vegetables

We had our soup with a crusty rye bread. Hagbard said, ” Thank you for the tasty soup. It was souper!” 🙂

From my home to yours,
Lounmoun

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April 2016- Dinner Plans

I’ve been working on my meal plans for April. This time Amethesto is supposed to cook a couple of our meals so I had her select some things she wanted to make. She chose grilled ham & cheese sandwiches, spaghetti and meatballs, and chili with homemade cheesy crackers. She isn’t very interested in cooking but I feel it is important for everyone to know how to cook something for themselves. She chose some very basic things that she has eaten many times before which I think is great for a beginner cook to do.

Some of these 28 meals will be completely new to us and some are old standards.

  1. French bread pizza, salad
  2. Fassolatha, bread
  3. Sausage alfredo bake, salad
  4. Chicken fajitas, seasoned rice
  5. Veggie burgers, pasta salad, fruit
  6. Stir fry, rice
  7. Buffalo chicken penne pasta, broccoli
  8. Mini calzones, salad
  9. Potato soup, bread
  10. Grilled ham & cheese sandwiches, roasted potato slices
  11. Fish, hasselback potatoes, corn
  12. Chicken & biscuit casserole
  13. Ravioli, zucchini
  14. Big salad, fruit crisp
  15. Mexican pizza, fruit
  16. Slow cooker chicken & dumplings, salad
  17. Asian chicken wraps, rice
  18. Pan roasted pork chops, potatoes and green beans
  19. Eggs, sweet potato fritters, fruit
  20. Potato and sausage goulash
  21. Spaghetti and meatballs, garlic bread
  22. Pizza quesadillas, salad
  23. Chili, cheese star crackers
  24. Chicago dogs, French fries
  25. Chicken tacos, Spanish rice
  26. Scalloped potatoes and ham, green beans
  27. Beans and rice, cherry hand pies
  28. Stuffed bread, salad

A couple of themes are: soup, pizza in different forms, casseroles, wraps or sandwiches.  I wanted to use my slow cooker a few times. I’m trying to think of more interesting side dishes but feel that is a weak point for me. I just default to salad when I can’t think of anything!

Check the blog throughout the month for recipes and details.

Previous months meal plans: https://lounmoun.wordpress.com/2016/02/29/meal-plan-end-of-feb-end-of-march/

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Pepperoni Pizza Casserole

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I had been looking at casserole recipes when I planned this month’s meals. My attention was caught by a pizza casserole recipe. It had pasta and all kinds of pizza toppings. We like pizza and Amethesto loves pasta. However, Amethesto only eats pepperoni pizza from a restaurant or a frozen pizza. She hasn’t eaten homemade pizza for about 7 years because ONE time I made a pizza she declared tasted like “vomit”. Thanks for that description kid. She ate my pizza happily before that incident but never again! That one time was it for her. She does not give food a second chance and is wary of new foods. Maybe some of you have a child or family member like this. I joked with Hagbard that I should get a job at the pizza restaurant and then a pizza factory so Amethesto wouldn’t eat pizza again because I might have made it. Sigh. Anyhoo, this is my inspiration recipe. http://tastesbetterfromscratch.com/2015/08/pizza-casserole.html
I decided to make my version a bit smaller, use only pepperoni and skip the parmesan cheese.  I didn’t want a ton of leftovers in case no one liked it.

Pepperoni Pizza Casserole
8 oz dry penne pasta
4 oz sliced pepperoni
1/2 tsp dry oregano
1 clove garlic, minced
24 oz jar spaghetti sauce or pizza sauce
1 c shredded mozzarella cheese

Heat oven to 350°F.
Cook penne pasta according to instructions on package. Drain and stir in sauce, pepperoni, garlic and oregano. Put in greased 8″ x 8″ baking dish. Top with mozzarella and bake 25-30 minutes.
Makes 3-5 servings.

The verdict:
Amethesto picked out the pepperoni in her serving and gave it to Hagbard. She really liked just the pasta with cheese though.
Hagbard went back for a second helping. He said he’d like to try it with lots of pizza toppings mixed in.
I thought it was pretty tasty and filling. I imagine the fuller combination pizza version would be really good too. I don’t think the parmesan cheese would be necessary so I’d still leave it out and save a few calories.
We had just 1 serving left so unless you serve a salad and garlic bread with it you probably won’t get 6 servings for most adults/teenagers.

From my home to yours,
Lounmoun

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Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas & Roasted Potato Slices

It was a stormy night and dinner was pork carnitas and roasted potato slices.
I got this recipe from http://therecipecritic.com/2015/04/slow-cooker-pork-carnitas/ and the only change I made was to increase the salt to 2 tsp and bake my pork at the end instead of broiling. You can skip that step but your meat will be drippier and messier to eat if you do.
I love using my slow cooker and this is a great recipe for it! It was especially great tonight as our power was flickering on and off just before dinner. I was really glad the pork was already cooked and the potatoes did not take long.
Everyone in my house really likes this pork. It makes quite a bit and you can use the meat in other dishes like sandwiches, empanadas, taquitos or whatever you like. Hagbard is already looking forward to bbq pork sandwiches made from the leftovers. I’m putting a bunch of the meat in the freezer for other meals.

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Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas
4 pounds pork shoulder roast
1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
¾ cup orange juice (2 oranges)
¼ cup lime juice (2 limes)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, quartered

Combine chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper. Rub spices on the outside of the pork shoulder. Combine orange juice, lime juice, garlic and onion in slow cooker. Place pork on top. Cook on low for 8 hours or high 4-5 hours. Shred cooked pork. Heat for 30 more minutes. Remove the pork from the slow cooker and place on a baking sheet.  Cooked in a 400°F oven for about 10 minutes. Serve with your favorite toppings in a tortilla.

Roasted potato slices are very easy to make and are one of Amethesto’s favorite side dishes. I sprinkled some taco seasoning, salt and pepper on my potatoes this time but you can use other seasonings.

Roasted Potato Slices
1 medium russet potato per person
Salt, pepper, herbs, spices to taste
Cooking spray

Heat oven to 400 °F. Cut potato into 1/4″ slices. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray. Arrange slices so they do not overlap. Spray tops lightly and sprinkle with seasonings. Bake 25-30 minutes, turning over and seasoning the other side at the halfway point. You can also cook sweet potato slices this way.

From my home to yours,
Lounmoun

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Emergency Meal From The Freezer

Today’s planned meal was fassolatha, a wonderful Greek bean soup. I’m not feeling well and have been struggling to work on a sewing project intended as a gift for Amethesto’s rapidly approaching birthday today. I’m just not getting stuff done.
Poking around in the freezer I saw two glorious containers of frozen minestrone soup. Yes! This kind of day is why I make soup once a week and freeze leftovers.
I thawed the soup blocks enough to get them out and dumped them in the pot on the stove over medium heat to slowly warm while I huddle miserably in a chair with drippy nose and headache waiting for medicine to kick in. I’ll stir it in a bit. Minimal effort for homemade food.
Try to keep something like this in your freezer for those days you don’t have time to prepare food, are sick or just not feeling like cooking. Many foods freeze well. http://www.helpwithcooking.com/food-storage/foods-freeze-well.html

From my home to yours,
Lounmoun

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Lounmoun’s Picks- Cooking Papa & Honeysuckle Tea

This week I wanted to mentioned just two things I have enjoyed lately and one upcoming event I’m looking forward to.

We went on a short road trip this week and stopped to buy drinks. Standing in front of the wall of drinks was somewhat overwhelming and I just grabbed something fast that didn’t have calories. I got Inko’s organic unsweetened white tea honeysuckle flavor.  The flavor was very lightly floral and pleasantly refreshing.  I don’t know if I would like their other drinks but I would definitely drink the honeysuckle tea again. They don’t sell it in my local store at this time unfortunately. https://www.inkostea.com/

The weather is warming and it is almost time for outdoor flea markets! Hagbard, Amethesto and I love browsing through flea markets. There is a large market that we have been going to for several years located in Sparks, KS. The town is interesting in that it has a normal population of just 9 people. For 4 days each in the Spring and Fall there are over 500 vendors plus food stalls filling the town and thousands of people. Cars fill the parking area and line the sides of the highway every time. Hagbard has joked that I am walking more these days just to get in training for flea markets!  Seriously, if you go expect to do a lot of walking out in the weather on unpaved areas. Dress in appropriate footwear for a hike, wear sunscreen, drink plenty of water and bring a bag, cart or wagon for your purchases. We always have to walk pretty far from where we park so our habit is to walk through to the end noting down anything larger we want to purchase and go back and buy it on our way out. This year I hope to find some interesting dishes or kitchen implements. I think Amethesto wants to look for vintage clothes and old video games.  We almost always buy some books. The Spring dates are April 28, 29, 30 and May 1. http://sparksantiquesandcollectibles.com/

http://www.examiner.com/article/population-surge-from-9-to-over-75-000-sparks-kansas

Finally, I was reading a manga called Cooking Papa this week. The story is about a 31 year old sales manager named Kaizumi Araiwa who loves to cook and cooks very well but hides this from most people. His wife is a journalist and they have a 7 year old son. Each chapter has a recipe included.  Araiwa is large and muscly in appearance. He does not say much and seems reliable but stern to his co-workers but is actually very caring about others and secretly helps people out all the time. He lets people believe that his wife makes his amazing lunch or that foods he shares are from a store.  I don’t know why he hides what he does but maybe he would get taken advantage of or be seen less seriously in the business world if he revealed that side of himself… like “Hey, Araiwa since you are so good at cooking just make an elaborate lunch for 50 people for the company event.” What he loves could easily turn into a burden. Since his wife is often rushing away on assignment, working late or drinking with colleagues he does a lot of the care for their son beyond just cooking. His persona at home is more fun and chatty. It is a fun cooking manga to check out. http://bato.to/comic/_/comics/cooking-papa-r7712

 

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Spring Break Outing

This week Hagbard, Amethesto and I went to Tuttle Creek State Park just north of Manhattan, KS. It was a cool, cloudy and quiet retreat. We hiked a trail and enjoyed the lake view.

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