Monthly Archives: February 2014

Gyros

Yum!  We have a great source for lamb from a local farm.  The gyros we make with it are excellent.

I put the lamb with some beef in the food processor, along with spices, and process until it is a paste.  Then, I shape and compress  it into a lined loaf pan.  Bake, slice thinly, and it’s as close as we can get at home to the “real thing”.

thinly sliced mixture of lamb and beef

thinly sliced mixture of lamb and beef

I made a double-batch in December and froze one loaf before baking.  The convenience of just pulling it out of the freezer this morning and popping it into the oven tonight was great.

We tried a new brand of pita tonight- it was good, but I can’t remember what it’s called.

Sometimes we put the fillings inside the pita, pocket-style

Sometimes we put the fillings inside the pita, pocket-style

I’ve started making the tzatziki sauce with sour cream instead of yogurt, and Mark approves.  He also said that tonight’s meat was extra delicious.  Since it should taste exactly like the gyro meat we ate in December, I wonder if the baking method affected it today.  I cooked it 45 minutes instead of 1 hour, then set it into the fireplace oven (around 225 to 250) for another hour while I baked the french fries.   Or maybe the weeks in the freezer caused the flavors to meld better.  Or maybe he was hungrier tonight.

We finished off the frozen french fries from last fall.  They were good, as was the applesauce.

Sometimes we put the toppings on top of the pita like a tostata

Sometimes we put the toppings on top of the pita like a tostata

We did have leftovers of the meat, though.  That’s a bit strange.

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Italian Breaded Pork Chops

I’m not ambitious enough to dig the gas tank for the grill out of the snow, or cook outside in the extreme cold.  Instead, I looked for some new “baked pork chop” recipes, and found one for Italian breaded pork chops.

I’ve never breaded a pork chop before; I don’t think I’ve even eaten a breaded pork chop.  Enter- adventure!

They were actually pretty fun to make.  Using our homemade breadcrumbs (from heels and bread about to go bad, then stored in the freezer), and adding our own blend of Italian seasonings, this turned out well!  It wasn’t as flavorful as I expected- I think next time I’ll add the garlic to the breading mix (rather than the browning oil), and add a bit of salt.

The seasoned, breaded pork chops smelled great as the browned on the stovetop, than baked in the oven.

The seasoned, breaded pork chops smelled great as they browned on the stovetop, than baked in the oven.

Mark gives this a 3.5 out of 5.  Sean liked them, and ate 3!  Brenda really liked it, too!

We’ll definitely make this again.

We had baked potatoes, green beans, and applesauce with the chops.  Our stored potatoes are beginning to age.  We’ll need to dice, hash, and french-fry them and freeze them soon.

Delicious Italian Breaded Pork Chop, home grown baked potato, green beans from last year's garden, and homemade applesauce.

Delicious Italian Breaded Pork Chop, home grown baked potato, green beans from last year’s garden, and homemade applesauce.

Good meal 🙂

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Pizza Palace

In spite of the frigid temps outside, spring must be around the corner.  With it, spring will bring the end of Pizza Season- it will get too warm to keep the masonry heat fireplace (and oven) warm.

We’re making the most of the what’s left of this season.

Sunday Pizza Palace:  Homemade pizzas cooked in the fireplace oven.  DELICIOUS!

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Saturday Staple

Sean ate his entire bowl, a first for any of us.  I keep trying to make smaller portions, but that’s hard to do with our bowls.

Mark was sad to be eating Staple again. It turned out well, though.

The Grit Staple- hearty, filling, healthy

The Grit Staple- hearty, filling, healthy

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Game night- frozen soup

We got home late after basketball, heated up some of the leftover Chipotle Chicken Soup from the freezer, and ate a mini-loaf of bread (made from leftover dough from Thursday’s Stromboli).

One quart of soup gave us one bowl each; but it was late, we were tired, and that was plenty.  Everyone ate the soup.  Since there was only 1 quart in the pan, no one was stressed out thinking they had to like it so much as to eat more.  Good dinner.

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Awesome Stromboli

Yum! Yum! Yum!

I used our “Best ever bread machine bread machine” recipe to make a double-batch of dough.  It was too much for the bread pan to hold, but it worked out fine.  Plus, it was more than enough to make 3 large sandwiches and a small loaf of bread for the next night’s dinner (score!).

Yum! Yum! Yum! Stromboli!

Yum! Yum! Yum! Stromboli!

We had a couple of pieces of provolone left from making philly cheese steaks a while back, so I used those up, along with some Parmesan and mozarella. Cheese-yum!

In addition to pepperoni, the sandwiches for Mark and I had onions and sauteed mushrooms.  yum!

My sandwich was sprinkled with sliced green olives.  Mine was the best!  yum!

Sean ate his entire huge sandwich for dinner and an after-dinner snack.  Mark and I were able to make a couple of meals out of our sandwiches.

The french fries should have been delicious, but they had to be baked in stages due to a strange evening schedule, and didn’t get quite as crisp as usual.  I cooked up the leftovers in about 1/2 tsp peanut oil for lunch- and they were tasty.  I think we’ve finally gotten the trick to cooking our home-frozen fries: bake more than 1 hour, tossed in peanut oil and salt.  (Good with garlic powder/onion powder/pepper, too, but the guys aren’t as positive about that.)

home-frozen French fries, not quite crispy

home-frozen French fries, not quite crispy

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Wednesday Stir Fry – Pork!

Mark, the stir-fry guru, whipped another yummy dinner.  We rarely use pork for stir fry, but it was delicious.

Out of water chestnuts, Mark used extra celery.

Pork Stir Fry

Pork Stir Fry

Everyone liked dinner.

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Late night Quesadillas

We got home late yesterday after another basketball night.  Happily, chicken quesadillas were already planned.

Cooked, shredded chicken had already been pulled from the freezer, and we had tortillas on hand.  I shredded some cheddar and started cooking.

After the first couple of quesadillas had staved off starvation, I pulled out the rice and Havana beans left from the other night, and added those to the chicken and cheese.  Sean commented that this was a good way to use Havana beans.

Everyone was happy, full, and tired.  Good dinner.

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Sausage and Shells- Snowed In Again

Brown some sausage with minced yellow pepper, onion, and garlic.  Add some tomato (I used sauce instead of diced, this time), cream, and Parmesan, stir in some pasta.  There we have it.  We didn’t have enough small shells, so I rounded out the pound with elbow macaroni.  We didn’t have enough cream, so I rounded out the cup with 1/2% milk.  It was very good.  Everyone ate it, liked it, and ate some more.

Sausage and Shells

Sausage and Shells

Mark added smoked paprika to his serving.  It smelled great!

We served it with applesauce and green beans from the pantry.  Also, I toasted the rest of the oatmeal-wheat bread (awesome), and we had that, as well.

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Golumpki Stew

Sean does not like this!

Mark loves this!

Brenda thinks this is ok.

Here’s where we got the recipe:  http://neohomesteading.com/golumpki-dumpling-soup/

The idea is that golumpki soup is much less time-consuming than regular golumpki dumplings (cabbage rolls).  By the time I’ve roasted garlic and mixed up a lot of spicy tomato soup (links in the neohomesteading recipe), I have to start cooking a day ahead. So, although Mark loves this, it’s not a quick meal for me to make.

Hamburger mixed with rice, roasted garlic, and seasonings, formed into large dumplings, baked in a little spicy tomato soup, then dropped into a cabbage soup with more spicy tomato soup.

Golumpki dumplings  (meat, garlic, and rice) in spicy tomato soup with cabbage

Golumpki dumplings (meat, garlic, and rice) in spicy tomato soup with cabbage

I did a pretty good job counteracting the acidity of our canned tomatoes.  Overall, it turned out well.

When Sean smelled the soup cooking on Saturday, he looked like he wanted to cry because he knew what was coming.  I cooked several dumplings in a separate pan, without any tomato soup, and he liked that better; but he still doesn’t like it.

We tried a new recipe for wheat bread, this one with ground oatmeal in it.  It’s a dense, heavy bread, and we all loved it!  Even better toasted the next day.  I’m not sure what happened the first time I cooked it, but it didn’t come close to being cooked through.  I didn’t realize it until I turned the bread out, noticed the doughy bottom, and watched it deflate.  I popped it back into the pan, back into the oven, and it cooked just fine.  It even re-inflated most of the way.  We’ll definitely be making this one again.  Not 100% whole grain, but 60%, and that’s not bad for us.

Awesome wheat bread with ground oats

Awesome wheat bread with ground oats

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