Food From Home

Cooking at home for fun, health and frugality!

Batsaria- If You Like Spanakopita Try This

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A few months ago, I really was craving spanakopita. Our local store did not have phyllo dough week after week. I was getting kind of grumpy about it. I found a recipe for something that didn’t need phyllo dough. It has a pancake-like batter instead- using ingredients I already have on hand all the time. I was pretty excited to give this a try. http://food52.com/recipes/25622-batsaria-phyllo-less-spanakopita
It was delicious and very easy to put together. If you have trouble finding phyllo dough or don’t like working with it give this a try!

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From my home to yours,
Lounmoun

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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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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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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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Simple And Frugal Mujadarra

This is a great tasting dish for a low budget. You need just lentils, onions, rice and a few spices. Everything is easy to get and keep around. It is super filling and is not high calorie. It is not fast food. It takes time to cook the onions.
http://www.kalynskitchen.com/2010/06/recipe-for-mujadarra-middle-eastern.html is the recipe I have used as the basis for mine. There are many mujadarra recipes on the internet with slight differences. I increased the seasonings a bit and added a dash of cinnamon to mine. Delicious!
We have packed this in lunches. It is good reheated or cold. It is great with a simple salad.

Mujadarra

Ingredients:
3/4 cup long-grain white rice
1 cup dry lentils, rinsed
3 yellow onions, cut into quarter slices
1/3 cup olive oil (I have used peanut oil so if you don’t have olive oil use what you have)
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp salt or to taste
1/2 tsp ground black pepper or to taste
Dash of cinnamon, optional

Instructions:

Cook rice in water following package directions. Set to the side. ( I cook this while I am cooking the lentils. If you have leftover cooked rice you could use it.)

Rinse lentils, then place in heavy pot with about 1 quart water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let lentils simmer  uncovered until they are soft- about 20-30 minutes. When lentils are cooked, cover and let them absorb any leftover water.
While lentils cook, chop onions. Heat oil in a heavy frying pan. Add onions and cook over medium heat, stirring every few minutes, until deeply browned and caramelized.
When onions are browned, remove half the onions to drain on a paper towel to crisp if you want. I don’t bother with this.  Stir 1/4 tsp cumin into the onions in the pan and cook 1-2 minutes.
Combine drained lentils with the onions in a pan. Season the cooked lentils and onions with salt, black pepper and cinnamon if you like and cook 1-2 minutes to blend flavors.
Mix cooked rice into the lentils and caramelized onions, heating for a minute or two if the rice is not hot. Top with crispy caramelized onions if you want. Serves 4.

Give this dish a try!

From my home to yours,
Lounmoun

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Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole & Game Night

Several months ago I went looking for chicken casserole recipes on Pinterest. I found this great recipe for Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole. Since it uses pre-cooked chicken it is a great way to use leftover chicken.  On Monday I had cooked a bunch of chicken in the slow cooker to use in three planned dinners this week and this is the last one. The most time consuming part of the preparation is the sauce and then after that you pop it in the oven and go on your merry way for 45 minutes.  I used the time to exercise.

I did some math and made half of this recipe for about 4-6 servings. ( I do the most math when I cook it seems.) http://recipevan.com/recipe/chicken-cordon-bleu-casserole-2/

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

2 1/2-3 cups of cooked chicken, shredded or cubed
4 thin sliced deli-style honey ham, rough chopped
2 oz thin sliced baby Swiss cheese

For the sauce:
2 T  butter
2 T  flour
1 1/2 cups + 2 T milk
1 T lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp paprika
1/8 teaspoons pepper

For the topping:
3 T butter
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 tsp seasoning salt
3/4 teaspoon crushed dried parsley

1) Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter an  8″ x 8″ baking dish.
2) Layer cooked shredded or cubed chicken on the bottom of the baking dish. Chop the ham and put it on top of the chicken. Layer the Swiss cheese on top of the ham.
For the sauce:
3) Melt the butter in a  pot over medium heat. When butter is melted, quickly stir in the flour until smooth. Do not brown! Once smooth and bubbly, slowly pour in the cold milk while stirring briskly until smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens. Stir in the lemon juice, Dijon mustard, salt, smoked paprika and white pepper. Bring sauce just back to a low boil and turn off heat. Pour sauce over the casserole and spread to edges.
For the topping:
4) Melt the butter. Stir in the panko bread crumbs, seasoning salt and crushed dried parsley. Sprinkle crumbs over the top of the casserole.
5) Bake casserole uncovered for 45 minutes until hot and bubbly throughout and topping has turned a light golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes prior to serving.

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It tastes great and is filling!

A handy site for converting all kinds of measurements- http://www.convertunits.com/

Tonight was game night at our house. We played Gears of War: the board game. It is a cooperative game (which we love) and can be played by 1-4 players. Our team emerged victorious (barely). It was the first time Amethesto and I had played this so Hagbard had to patiently explain everything to us. Neat game!

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Oyakodon

Oyakodon is a Japanese dish of chicken and egg simmered in a dashi stock served over a bowl of rice. It is not complicated to make. I used this recipe-> http://japanesefood.about.com/od/ricebowl/r/oyakodon.htm

4 cups steamed rice
3/4 lb chicken thighs or chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 2/3 cups dashi soup stock
7 Tbsp soy sauce
4 Tbsp mirin
3 Tbsp sugar
4 eggs
nori dried seaweed *optional

Put dashi soup stock in a large skillet and put on medium heat. Add soy sauce, mirin, and sugar in the soup. Put chicken and simmer on low heat for a few minutes. Add onion slices and simmer for a few more minutes. Lightly beat eggs in a bowl. Bring the soup to a boil, and pour the eggs over chicken and onion. Turn the heat down to low and cover with a lid. After about one minute, turn off the heat.

Serve steamed rice into individual deep bowls, then serve simmered chicken and egg on top of the rice. Sprinkle strips of dried nori on top if you would like.

Since I live in a small town in Kansas, I ordered a jar of Hon-Dashi bonito fish stock granules off the internet. There were no instructions on my bottle on how to use it which was kind of curious and irritating. I found a ratio of 1/2 tsp to 2/3 c water on the internet and went with that.

Verdict:
Amethesto opted out of eating this. She complained about it having a strong fishy smell.
Hagbard had two bowls of it and thought it was great.
I wanted to like it but I couldn’t even eat half of my serving. It was super salty from all the soy sauce. I started feeling unwell at dinner so it just wasn’t appealing to me.
I’ve looked at other recipes now that use just 1-2 T of soy sauce and I bet that would be more pleasant. So if you use this particular recipe I’d recommend using less soy sauce.

From my home to yours,
Lounmoun

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