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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Weekend Cooking

I was to host a baby shower for our soon to arrive second grandchild Saturday afternoon and my husband was hosting a poker game Saturday night so I began preparing foods on Friday. By early Saturday morning it was clear that the weather was not going to co-operate. The kids called just after 9 am to say they had spun the car out and while they were not injured the car was more than likely totaled. Being so close to the due date a trip to the hospital was necessary. So without the guest of honour and the worsening weather, I spent a bit of time calling all the guests to say we had cancelled the baby shower due to weather conditions. Meanwhile, a couple of our kids along with grandbaby arrived having travelled Friday night before the storm hit. The weather also resulted in a much smaller turn-out for the poker game.

The breakfast bar was lined with foods. There were 36 decorated cupcakes on the table and the refrigerator was threatening to burst at the seams. I had planned on making chili for dinner first thing Saturday morning but with the cancellations decided to make a change of plans since my husband had his heart set on roast beef. The white out conditions combined with the howling wind and rising snow drifts didn't seem so bad as the house filled with the tantalizing aroma of the roast. Now I'm left with a lot of extra food, some of which needs to be used up quickly.

Spinach Dip

Spinach dip in a hollowed out loaf of pumpernickel bread has become a classic party dish. It is quick and easy to make. This dip is inexpensive and travels well. However, the dip is also perfect for dipping vegetables. There are likely several variations of this spinach dip but I think most use a vegetable soup mix. I've modified the dip recipe from the original.

I made a large vegetable tray with spinach dip in the centre. The vegetables consisted of carrot sticks, celery sticks, red and green pepper slivers, broccoli, cauliflower and mushrooms. I used the remaining half of the spinach dip for a tray with pumpernickel bread slices cut into quarters.

Spinach Dip

198 g (7 oz) fresh spinach
1 - 8 oz package cream cheese
¼ c grated Parmesan cheese
1½ c sour cream
¼ c Miracle Whip
3 green onions
1 package Knorr vegetable soup mix

Steam the spinach and allow to drain. Roughly chop spinach. Finely chop the green onions. Grate the Parmesan cheese. Combine all of the ingredients in KitchenAid® stand mixer bowl. Mix on setting 2 until creamy.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

My husband had declared roast done in the countertop roaster with mushroom gravy his new, must have meal. I'm very pleased with the performance of the roaster as well as the energy savings. My oven has a 2600 W element so costs 31¢ per hour whereas the roaster is 750 W that costs 9¢ per hour. Energy conservation is something that should be practiced in the kitchen wherever possible.

I decided to make mashed potatoes but wanted them fancied up just a little. There are many entries on this blog about the things I can, freeze and dry. I left the potatoes unpeeled then added roasted garlic and bacon pieces. You can find the method I use for roasting garlic here. I keep several vacuum sealed packages in the freezer to use for dishes like this. Each package is about 2 tbsp. I purposely made extra mashed potatoes for left-overs for tonight's dinner of roast beef pie. I'll post on that tomorrow.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

10 lb potatoes, washed and cubed
1 lb bacon
2 tbsp roasted garlic
1 small onion, finely chopped
milk

Cut bacon across the slices to form small pieces of bacon. Fry until almost crispy. Drain well on paper towel, dabbing to remove any excess grease. Set bacon aside. Bring the prepared unpeeled potatoes to a boil and cook until tender. Drain. Put the half the potatoes into KitchenAid® stand mixer bowl. Slowly pour in enough milk to make potatoes somewhat smooth while beating using flat beater on speed 2. Note, the skin will make the potatoes a bit lumpy. Pour the first half of the potatoes into a large mixing bowl. Repeat with the other half of the potatoes. Add the second half of the potatoes to the mixing bowl. Add the bacon pieces, onion and roasted garlic. Mix well with a large spoon.

Tortilla Chips

Tortilla and nacho chips are family favourites for dipping. With the cancellation of the baby shower and fewer guys coming I found myself with 48 corn tortillas. I was going to freeze them but one of my kids suggested deep frying them to make chips. I normally buy ready made tortilla chips so was interested in how the home made would compare. What a difference! I will definitely be making fresh tortilla chips again. They are so fresh tasting with a nice crunch. The nice thing with making your own is being able to adjust the seasoning or salt. I added home canned salsa for dipping.

Tortilla Chips

48 6-inch corn tortilla shells
oil for frying
sea salt

Cut the tortilla shells into quarters. Heat deep fryer to 365ºF or put deep fryer on French fry setting. Fry the tortilla quarters in small batches about 20 seconds. Drain. Season with sea salt or other seasoning if desired. Seal in an air tight container if storing.

Frittata

A frittata is simply an open-faced omelette with the extra ingredients mixed into the egg mixture. It is an ideal way to use up bits and pieces from the refrigerator. A previous entry on frittatas can be found here. I had extra chopped vegetables left-over from the vegetable pizza appetizer made for the guys. The recipe for making this appetizer can be found here. Sunday morning I decided to make a frittata for breakfast to use up a few of the vegetables and sliced mushrooms. I also added home canned ham. Home canned ham is a definite, must in my pantry. It is oh so easy to can and can be used for so many dishes!

This frittata differs in the cooking method. Normally I cook on the stove then finish in the oven in a cast iron fry pan. However, I started out thinking I would make fancied up scrambled eggs but ended up making a frittata cooked on the stovetop. The stovetop method worked nicely.

Method

Saute mushroom slices in butter until cooked in a deep sided, non-stick fry pan. Stir in chopped vegetables. I used red pepper, a small onion, broccoli, carrots and green onions. Continue cooking on medium heat until the vegetables are tender. Add home canned ham pieces (500 ml jar, meat only). Whisk one dozen eggs in a mixing bowl. Pour eggs over the vegetables. Stir lightly to mix the vegetables and ham into the eggs. Reduce heat to medium low. Cover the fry pan with tin foil. Continue cooking until eggs are set. Sprinkle about 1½ c shredded provolone cheese over the egg mixture. Cover and continue cooking until cheese is melted. Remove from heat. Cut into wedges for serving.

Enjoy!

Garden Gnome
©2007


1 food lovers commented:

Mrs. Paradis said...

Your garlic roasted potatoes and roast look so YUMMY!