Thursday, October 24, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

Normally at this time of year I've been browsing Food Network and other foodie favorite places looking for new and interesting ideas for our Thanksgiving dinner.  I just haven't found the time to do that yet this year.  A post on Facebook was kind enough to point out that Thanksgiving is just five weeks from today.  I had better get started!  I am looking forward to planning a fantastic meal for the whole family and any friends that choose to join us.

Thanksgiving is a day to count our blessings and one my blessings is cooking for the people I love and knowing they enjoy their meal.

Check in often for creative and tasty ideas for this year's feast.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Produce Co-op - Fresh Fruit & Veggies

A little more than a year ago I joined a produce co-op.  Every two weeks I spend $21.50 to pick up a very large and very heavy bag of fresh produce.  This is hands down the best bargain for my grocery dollar.   This is enough produce to feed a family of four for two weeks.  The co-op offers a variety of extra fruits and veggies that can be purchased in addition to cage-free brown eggs.  There are a large number of pick up locations throughout the St. Louis area on both sides of the river.  Take a few minutes to check out their website and take advantage of the opportunity to save money on good food for your family.

This is a picture of part of this week's bag.  The bag held a pineapple, bananas, apples, limes, portabella mushrooms, 2 lbs of carrots, 3 lbs of sweet potatoes, red onions, grapes, spaghetti squash, spinach and 2 lbs of strawberries.  I promise you, you won't begin to buy this quality of produce for anywhere near the price you pay for this  bag.

Just recently they began selling cage-free brown eggs for $2.50/dozen.  I was skeptical that I'd notice a difference in the eggs, but I did.  And what sealed the deal for me was my son Luke telling me my scrambled eggs were better than ever.  He knew nothing about the change in eggs.  As far as he knew they were still the same eggs I always brought home from the store.  There really is a difference.

Check out their website and start saving money yourself.  Copy and paste this website into your browser.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Fall Has Finally Arrived

I couldn't help but notice the change in the color of the leaves as I drove to work this morning.  As much as I dislike winter, I love watching the leaves change and the color pop in the bluffs that surround us.  Sometimes I think it would be nice to live where it's 78 degrees year round, but then I think about what I'd miss.

There is nothing like seeing the first signs of spring poking up through the cold ground in late-February or the leaves beginning to bud on the trees.  Summer is hot, but filled with goodies from the garden.  Fall brings the brilliant leaves on the trees and cooler days and nights for bonfires and roasting marshmallows. And then there's winter.  I like to see the snow -- it's beautiful before it's trampled -- but I don't like to have to get out in St. Louis traffic and drive in it.  St. Louisans have issues when it rains . . . and SERIOUS issues when it snows.  But, there is nothing more beautiful than an undisturbed 4+ inch snow.

I couldn't live anywhere where there weren't four distinct seasons.  Yes, it's the warm sunny, breezy days I like the best, but I would certainly miss the simple pleasures of the rest of the days if I lived anywhere else.

Fall brings cooler weather and I automatically start thinking of soups, stews and comfort food.  Be sure to check back often for new recipe ideas.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Summer Squash Stir-Fry

Those of us who garden have tons of zucchini and yellow squash that we just don't know what to do with this time of year.  If you're like us, you even have the neighbors over-supplied with the fresh veggies.  Well, here is a recipe that will put some of the summer squash to use.

1 lb zucchini (unpeeled)
1 lb yellow squash (unpeeled)
1 tsp kosher salt, plus more
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves of garlic (pressed)
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Freshly ground pepper

Use the julienne attachment on your mandoline to cut the summer squash into matchsticks.

Place squash in a colander set in the sink or over a large bowl and toss with 1 tsp salt.  Let squash stand 10 minutes, then squeeze as much moisture out as possible.  Do not rinse.

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat.  Add garlic and red pepper flakes.  Cook, stirring often.  Add squash and cook, tossing occasionally, until crisptender, about 5 minutes.  Fold in the Parmesan and season with salt and pepper.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Taco Salad with a New Twist

Every once in a while I run across a recipe that is easy and delicious.  This is one that became a family favorite the first time I made it.

7 oz Nacho Cheese Doritos (broken up)
1 lb ground beef (browned)
1 pkg Taco Seasoning
3/4 cup water
2 cups of Kraft Shredded Mexican Cheese
2 cups lettuce (bite size)

Place the broken Doritos in the bottom of an 8" x 10" baking dish.

Brown the ground beef and drain.  Add the taco seasoning and the water and simmer for five minutes.

Spoon the seasoned ground beef over the Doritos.  Sprinkle with the cheese and top with lettuce.

I like to serve this topped with a sprinkling of Pico de Gallo, a dollup of Guacamole, and a dollup of sour cream.

I've previously posted recipes for Pico de Gallo and Guacamole.  If you can't find them, or if you're in a hurry, send me an e-mail and I'll send them to you.

Note:  The first time I made this I baked it for 10 minutes to melt the cheese before adding the lettuce.  While it did taste good, once it was no longer hot the cheese was just a hardened mess.  I don't recommend baking this . . . it's much better unbaked.