Monday, July 24, 2006

It's Almost Too Hot to Cook (but not quite!)

This is the time of year I really like my toaster oven. It's been used for a whole lot more than toasting. I've learned that it's large enough for almost everything I want to cook, including casseroles. I learned tonight that I can fit a 12-inch round dish in it, so now can cook more things in it without heating up the kitchen as much as with the big oven.

Lunch was a treat today, since I came up with a great use for the leftover pork from last night. I diced it up, and made quesadillas, using the pork and some shredded smoked gouda. Yum! Definitely a repeat is in order.

As I mentioned yesterday, I spent much of the afternoon making the foundation for six more meals. I came across this recipe about 25 years ago, and have made it a few times, and decided that while I had the time I needed to make another batch to get ready for going back to work. I changed it, though, substituting olive oil for the original shortening, and using half ground turkey instead of all ground beef.

Meat Sauce Mix

1/4 c olive oil
4 medium onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or smashed
2 c finely chopped celery
2 lbs. lean ground beef
2 lb. ground turkey
4 t salt
1 t pepper
3 T Worcestershire sauce
3 T Tabasco sauce
1 28-oz bottle ketchup

Heat olive oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, and celery. Sauté until onions are golden. Add ground beef and turkey. Stir and cook until meat is browned. Add remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer 20 minutes. Drain excess fat. Put into 6 1-pint freezer bags or containers. Seal and label; freeze. Use within 3 months. Makes 6 meals’ worth.
Use for: sloppy joes, stuffed hard rolls, stuffed green peppers (with 1 cup cooked rice), hamburger-noodle skillet.

I kept one batch out of the freezer for tonight’s dinner:

Stuffed Bell Peppers

6 small bell peppers
1 batch Meat Sauce Mix
1 c cooked rice (brown or white)
1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
1 c shredded Mozarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375˚. Remove the tops from the bell peppers, and then scrape out the seeds and mebranes. A teaspoon is good for this. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then cook the peppers for 6 minutes. Drain and place in a baking dish. In a medium bowl, combine the Meat Sauce Mix and rice. Spoon into peppers. Pour tomato sauce evenly over tops of stuffed peppers. Cover pan with foil and bake 30 minutes. Remove foil, and divide cheese among peppers. Return to oven and cook another 5 minutes.

Yesterday when we cooked the corn on the grill, I had DH cook two extra ears for tonight’s salad:

Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salad

corn from two ears
1 16-oz. can black beans, drained
1 small purple onion, chopped
1 t cumin
1/4 c vinegar
2 T water
2 T vegetable oil
1 t salt
1/4 t black pepper

Place corn, beans, and onion in a medium bowl. Combine cumin, vinegar, water, oil, salt, and pepper, and pour over vegetables. Let sit in refrigerator overnight for flavors to blend and onions to soften.

Yesterday’s Picture “Quiz”

The picture from yesterday was taken at the Elephant Seal Refuge near Piedras Blancas off of Highway 1 north of Cambria, California. My friend Trude had said I needed to stop there on my way to Monterey, and I got lucky. The huge pod was constantly shifting shape due to the seals’ moving around over and arouind each other, while some slowly galumphed their way to the water. Two large bulls were mock fighting over in the water in some rocks, and several others were basking by themselves further down the beach. Right underneath the cliff, two babies were sleeping, and they were so still that at first I thought they were dead. The scratching of noses eased my fears. I think I stayed to watch them for almost 45 minutes. Some more information about the elephant seals of Piedras Blancas can be found here.


PatL said...

I've never been a green pepper fan, I'm afraid, cooked or raw, but your corn & bean salad looks fabulous!

Patti said...

I agree about the toater oven. I used to have one but I never replaced it and it would be handy in the heat.
The corn and bean salad looks yummy!