Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Migas - my way

I've "discovered" - or maybe "created" a new breakfast for Don and me. In one of the novels I was reading last week, a character made some migas, and the dish sounded like something I wanted to try. The basic concept of migas is that it's made with tortilla strips, chorizo, and eggs, and some recipes add other ingredients such as cheese, salsa, green chilies, bell peppers, and onions.  I like Jimmy Dean pork sausage, and have used it (with some chili powder added) as a tasty chorizo substitute.

I was given some thick, homemade corn tortillas by a friend a couple of weeks ago, and decided to use some of them in this recipe. (I keep them in the freezer, and take them out as needed.) The steps I used when Don and I had this for breakfast this morning had me blending everything together at the end, and that caused the tortilla strips to lose their crispiness.  We both decided we wanted them crispy, so my solution is to cook them separately, plate them, and then put everything else on top of the tortilla strips.


2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil

2 corn tortillas, cut in 1-2" thin strips
4 oz. bulk breakfast sausage (I use Jimmy Dean)
2 tablespoons chopped onion
1-2 tablespoons chili powder (I used 1 this morning, and decided it wasn't enough.)
4 eggs
grated cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese

Heat oil in a medium skillet.  Add the tortilla strips. Cook, stirring, until strips are crispy. Divide the strips between two plates.  In the same skillet, brown sausage with the onions, breaking up the sausage as it cooks. When it's nearly done, sprinkle with chili powder and finish browning the sausage. Add the eggs - just break them right into the sausage mixture. Cook, stirring, until eggs are done. Divide between the two plates, putting eggs over tortilla chips. Sprinkle with grated cheese.  Enjoy!

Variations:  add bell peppers or green chilies to the sausage-onion mixture

Monday, January 16, 2012

Kitchen Stashbusting Days 6, 7, and 8. The end.

I succeeded in getting rid of some more meat:  pork chops, chicken breasts, and ground beef.  On Saturday, we had one of my favorite "comfort food" meals - pork chops and scalloped potatoes. From scratch, the way my mother taught me.  I've tried those dehydrated-nasty-boxed scalloped potatoes, and they are just awful.  I also do not like any onion flavor in mine.  So here's how Mother says you must make these - for two people.

Pork Chops and Scalloped Potatoes

Preheat oven to 350˚.
Peel and slice 2-3 large potatoes - about 1/4" thick.
Slice your boneless pork chops about 1/2" thick.  I use ONE of the thick boneless chops you get at Costco, and I slice it into 4 pieces.
Put a layer of the potatoes in the bottom of a 3-quart baking dish (I use Corningware - the one with the glass lid). Sprinkle the potatoes with about a tablespoon of flour, some salt and pepper, and then dot with about a tablespoon of butter (cut in small pieces).
Repeat with another layer of potatoes.
Use the chops for the next layer, and finish with a layer of potatoes - each time sprinkling with flour and dotting with small pieces of butter. You should have 3 layers of potatoes with the chops underneath the top layer.
Pour in about 1/2 cup milk - you should be able to see it down in the layers of potatoes, but it shouldn't be as high as the chops. (How do I know this? Major mess in the oven from overflowing, burning milk!)
Bake, covered, for an hour and a half. I've tried it for an hour, but the potatoes don't get tender.

I used to try to eat ALL of this. But I would have potato overload, and I just don't need this any more. So we have leftover potatoes, which are wonderful fried up for breakfast the next day.

On Sunday, I tried a new chicken recipe, which I won't be sharing because it was AWFUL.  I took about 3 bites, and the rest went into the trash.  A bowl of cereal filled me up.

Tonight we had hamburgers - Don had his with a bun, and I ate mine without. I was just craving some beef.

I'm trying to decide how long I want to go with this.  What's my goal?  To use up some of the excess, I think.  But as I've been doing these posts, I'm now wondering if it's a bad thing - to have the excess.  So, I've decided to stop, and go back to just doing what I've been doing for years. This has been fun, but now it's over.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Kitchen Stashbusting Days 4 and 5

Yesterday Don went fishing, and I wanted to spend most of my day sewing, so I put dinner in the crockpot.  I made Hearty Italian Sausages - and we enjoyed the leftovers for lunch today. I'm going to add a note in my recipe to use the thicker slice setting on my mandoline.  I used the really thin setting, and the bell peppers almost disappeared into the meat mixture.

Yesterday's breakfast was my big sister's recipe - a quiche made with sausage, mushrooms, and bell peppers. Since cream cheese is mixed in with the eggs and milk, the texture is creamy, and the taste is delicious. 

My daughter came up to do her laundry today, and stayed for dinner.  Now, what does a 30-year old request for dinner?  Her favorite - with the fancy name Rice-a-Roni Stroganoff. I take a box of Beef-flavored Rice-a-Roni, and add ground beef, mushrooms, and sour cream.  Sure, I know it's high in sodium - but I eat a small amount, and she and her father eat pretty hefty portions. We had this with some of those little soft rolls you buy by the bag at Costco.

I enjoyed my swimming and water aerobics today - though the knot in my back started hurting at the beginning of the water aerobics class. It was really painful - and the instructor recommended a massage and the hot tub.  I tried the hot tub - and 15 minutes of a hot jet blasting that knot really helped. I was told that it means that there isn't a muscle tear - that if it was torn, the heat would not have  helped. But it really made it feel better.  I told Don when I got home that I wanted him to massage that knot with the heel of his hand - we'll give it a try later. But right now there's no pain.

I had my blood work done this morning, too - so I'm curious to find out next week how the swimming and water aerobics have affected my blood sugar.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Kitchen Stashbusting Day 3

On Mondays, Wednesdays, and most Fridays (when I don't have my monthly quilt guild meeting) I go to the Drayson Center at Loma Linda University for a water aerobics class. I show up 45 minutes early, and with a classmate named Tony, "swim" laps.  What we actually do is tread water while slowly moving. We do it in the deep water lanes, as both of us enjoy what it does to our backs. The extra swimming before class has really helped - my back is stronger and my blood sugar is slowly lowering.

On swimming days Don and I eat bagels with cream cheese or Nutrigrain Eggos with cream cheese and a small bit of jam.

Lunch was some chile con queso and chips.  I had a craving to satisfy and it worked.

Dinner was going to be Chicken Piccata Potato Salad - but the green beans I'd gotten at the commissary had turned bad more quickly that I'd expected and I had to toss them. So I cooked the chicken in strips, breaded with corn flakes crumbs, and I roasted the potatoes.  I had a new basket of cherry tomatoes, so I used half of them in a tomato salad.

For dessert, we finished up the cherry cobbler. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Kitchen Stashbusting Day 2

Don and I went down the mountain today to pick up my old drafting table that I used to have in my classroom. I'd lent it to my friend Patrick - and now that he's succeeded me as YCEA president, he doesn't need it. It's now a perfect cutting and ironing table in my new sewing studio. We got down to Yucaipa early, so we went to the produce stand down the boulevard from the high school.   I picked up some mushrooms, cabbage, tomatoes, and some lovely corn on the cob. 

Breakfast - Eggs Goldenrod over toast.

Lunch - Don had corndogs, I had half a PBJ sandwich and some Fritos.

Dinner - Barbecue Bacon Keilbasa (take a piece of kielbasa, wrap it with bacon, and grill it. Brush it with barbecue sauce while grilling. Serve on a sandwich roll), cole slaw, and grilled corn on the cob.

Dessert - Cherry Cobbler

Monday, January 09, 2012

Kitchen stashbusting - Day 1

I know that the first week or so is going to be easy--since there's so much to choose from.

Breakfast- Don had cereal and a banana since he was up before me so he could go fishing. I had two Nutrigrain waffles spread with cream cheese and tangerine marmalade.

Lunch - I ate some leftover blueberry pancakes from the freezer, topped with a sliced banana and some lite syrup. Don came back from fishing around 2 and finished off some whole wheat banana bread.

Dinner - I had 2 avocados that seemed to be perfectly ripe, so I made some guacamole and two grilled California Turkey Sandwiches: turkey, Swiss cheese, sliced avocado, and chopped green chilies (canned) on sourdough which is lightly buttered. We enjoyed the guacamole with some tortilla chips.

Dessert - Date Loaf Candy, made on Saturday. This batch should last another couple of days.

I went down to the basement this afternoon after swimming and discovered that I have a LOT of bread! Rolls, buns, baguettes, loaves, muffins, tortillas and more. I shouldn't have to buy any bread for quite a while.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Kitchen Stashbusting Challenge revisited

Hello, my name is Cyndi, and I'm a food hoarder. 

I think.  I wonder if any of you are like me:  I have way too much food in my refrigerator, my freezer, and my cabinets. I am challenging myself to use what I have on hand for two full months

We came back from a 3-week trip in our RV to New Mexico and Arizona, and I did what I always do:  I went to the commissary and spent $200.  I went to Costco and spent $100 - mostly on meat. Then I ordered produce from Washington Produce (a local wholesaler that recently opened a retail outlet) for $30.  Then, I "took inventory."  I keep a notebook - a list of all the meats and vegetables on hand, from which I make a master list of all meals, meatless as well, that can be made from what I have.  I realized that I could probably cook wholesome meals for 3 months - 3 MONTHS - with everything I have, replenishing only a few items of produce.

Exactly a year ago I did this, but only posted 3 times about it.  I don't recall why I stopped.  I'll try to do better.  

Now that I've made that statement, I need to decide the rules for my personal challenge. Here are my rules from last year:

1. I can buy milk, eggs, and butter/margarine when I run out.
2. I can buy the significant condiments (ketchup, mustard, etc.) when I run out, unless it's something I can make from scratch. And no, I'm not going to make ketchup from scratch. : )
3. I can buy lettuce, tomatoes, and other salad-related produce when needed. But I need to use up a lot of frozen and canned veggies, so no immediate purchases of other vegetables.
4. When the side dishes get very slim, I can purchase FRESH vegetables only.
5. I get to make up my own rules as I go along, since this is my challenge.
6. I will try to make healthy foods. TRY.

To those rules, I'm going to add coffee and creamer.  Gotta have coffee and creamer. 

 I have a lot of items that have been in the freezer for months that need to be used before I buy more of them:  mixed berries, cherries, peas, blueberries, spinach.  Speaking of spinach - since I'm thinking out loud here - I picked up a bag of spinach balls at a Wal-Mart in Whitehorse, Yukon, this summer. One of those balls is the perfect size for mixing in 5 scrambled eggs for Don and me.  I looked for spinach balls here in the states, but can't find them. Does anyone know where I can find them?  It's not a big deal - I can use little slices from boxed frozen spinach - but those little balls are perfect.

I have nearly 10 pounds of flour on hand, my sugar canister is full, and there's plenty of butter in the fridge. So I have basics.  I was going through my recipes the other day and realized that there are hundreds of dessert items that can be made just from basics - I call them "pantry desserts." One excellent example is Chocolate Cobbler. I always have flour, sugar, butter, and cocoa powder.  (As a matter of fact, I bought a large bag of cocoa powder at a bulk food store last month. I'm set!)  I also have a box of 10 Pilsbury pie crusts in the freezer - got them at Costco - and not only can I make pies, I can use some of them for quiche!

Breakfast:  We currently have 3 dozen Panera bagels in the freezer downstairs, two boxes of Nutrigrain Waffles (I like to make a sandwich with cream cheese and some jam), and lots of breads and rolls. I'll replenish the eggs when they run out.  As for breakfast meats - I have TONS.  Bacon, sausage links, bulk sausage, little smokies, Spam, Canadian bacon - enough for what we call "big breakfast" for several months. (I make "big breakfast" about twice a week.  The rest of the time we eat the bagels or have small breakfasts like egg sandwiches with some kind of meat.)

Lunch:  I think I need to get creative here.  I get tired of lunchmeat and cheese sandwiches, and we're not always in the mood for soup.  Yes, we eat leftovers, since many of my favorite recipes are for 4-6 people, but I bet I have quite a supply of fixings for some different lunches. I recently subscribed to Eating Well and Family Circle magazines to assist a friend's daughter in a fundraiser, and I bet I can find great ideas there.  Well, those and Google searches!

I will try to post every day or every two days with what we've been eating and how I'm doing on my personal challenge.