Saturday, January 31, 2015

Last week's menu

Sorry, for the hiatus, Ash.
Yes, we've been eating! It's just been random and uninspired. Last week was pretty cool, though.

Monday- Pesto Chicken with zucchini noodles
Tuesday- Turkey & cheese roll ups (recipe still in progress) with glazed carrots
Wednesday- Meatless chili (ie: bean soup with veggies) with cornbread
Thursday- Grilled steaks and potatoes with broccoli. LOVE it when hubs does this. Plus the baked potatoes he makes are pretty bomb. He coats them with olive oil, course salt, and pepper before wrapping them in foil and grilling them.
Friday- Fish with sauteed sweet potato

Everything went pretty much the way it was planned, except hubs pointed out that I made 2 "MRE" meals (Pesto chicken and vegetarian chili) and I guess that's a bad thing. I thought they were pretty tasty but after months and months of repetitively eating shelf-stable versions of these dishes, I suppose I'd get pretty tired of the taste, too.

The roll ups were good in theory but the Pillsbury GF pizza dough I used was pretty old so it didn't rise and the dough was pretty yucky. Will try again. Because my sweet sister bought me 2 packages and I froze one. Which is also a gamble but we'll try it!

Friday I came home without an appetite so I had cornbread with lots of butter and Chris ate leftover steak. Plus I don't really know where the fish is- I'm assuming it's in the outside freezer but right now it's essentially a giant block of deer meat so good luck finding it!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Clever Leftovers: Granola edition

This isn't so much a leftover recipe as an "I have too much of this and I need to use it up" recipe. See, my mom found Chex gluten free oatmeal on super sale (we're talking 79 cents a box), so she bought 10 of them. Ten boxes of instant oatmeal. Now, I like oatmeal, but I don't eat it every day. Or even once a week. It doesn't really keep me full. I know, weird.

Yesterday I organized my pantry and I was reminded that precious real estate was being taken up by these 10 boxes of oatmeal. So I made a quick apple crisp, and that used up... 1 packet. Quite a ways to go.

Enter: Granola!

Now, I like a nice granola. Sprinkled on yogurt, eaten as a cereal, even as a topping for oatmeal. (oats on oats on oats!) Granola gets eaten quick. A big batch can be gone in no time, which makes it perfect for using up these oatmeal packets.

I've made granola before, and I feel like I've simplified the process pretty well. What I've got is not so much of a recipe as a guideline... as most of these "leftover" recipes go... and you only use 1 bowl, and 1 cookie sheet and 1 spoon.

Chex GF Oatmeal- Granola!

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In this particular batch, I dumped into a bowl:
instant oatmeal
slivered almonds
chia seeds

At this point you will have a bowl full of granola ingredients. The next step is to drizzle in some olive oil or melted coconut oil. Use enough to moisten all of the ingredients.

After the oil is mixed in, taste-test. With pre-sweetened instant oatmeal, I don't have to add any sweeteners. A big dash of cinnamon and a large pinch of salt get mixed in to give it a little oomph.

The mixture gets dumped onto a foil-lined cookie sheet and spread out. Sometimes I drizzle a little bit of honey over the mixture to encourage cluster formation. Then it goes into the oven for 20 minutes- stirring once after 10 minutes.

Note: Keep an eye on it. It can go from toasty to burny very quickly, especially if your oven is old and the temperature likes to fluctuate randomly like mine.

After it cools on the counter it will get crunchy, and then it's GRANOLA TIME.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Cherry cream cheese tart

Yes, there is a layer of cream cheese under those cherries.

Most of my ideas start out while I'm laying in bed just after waking up in the morning, in that groggy twilight sleep. This time, the can of cherry pie filling popped into my head. I'd bought for some random reason several months ago, as cherry pie filling is not normally something I keep on hand. But it was there, in the pantry, calling out my name. Cream cheese then popped into my head, and started dancing with the pie filling. At that point, it was time to get out of bed before things got out of hand.

I started with my cinnamon roll dough. Then I layered on cream cheese and topped with pie filling. It was actually pretty easy. Looks like I spent more time on it than I actually did. For the record, there is none left.

Cherry Cream Cheese Tart

First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Then gather ingredients.

Dough Ingredients:
2/3 c. milk
1 t. sugar
1 pkg fast-rising yeast

1 egg
1/4 c. oil (this time I used melted coconut oil)
1 t. vanilla

1 3/4 c. gluten free flour
1/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt

1 8oz block of cream cheese, softened in the microwave until spreadable. Tip: use the defrost setting
1 can of cherry pie filling (CHECK to make sure it's GF!)

1/3 c. brown sugar
1 1/2 t. cinnamon

For the dough:
Mix the sugar into the milk. Warm it to 100-110 degrees. I use a thermometer because I have not yet mastered the art of being able to tell otherwise. You can get candy thermometers for a couple of bucks. Mix in the yeast and set it in a warm place to proof. Meanwhile, grab two bowls: 1 small, 1 big.

Large bowl: Beat the egg. Add the oil and vanilla and mix well.
Small bowl: Mix the flour, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt.

After you have done this, check the yeast. It should have bubbled up and will smell yeasty. If not, throw it out and try again.

Pour the yeasty mixture into the large bowl with the egg, oil, and vanilla. Mix well to get any lumps from the yeast out. A couple small ones are ok. Add in the flour mixture from the small bowl and combine well to form the dough. The dough will be very soft. It's okay. Don't panic.

Dump the dough straight onto a greased cookie sheet. Spread the dough into an oval/ rectangular shape using the back of a wet spoon. (Warm water works best.) Work slowly. If it sticks, dip the spoon back into the water and keep going. Adding more flour will result in a dry, tough dough, so resist the urge!

Spread on a layer of cream cheese, leaving a bit of space around the edges to fold up. Do the same with the pie filling. Err on the side of overfilling, and make sure the edges get enough-- nobody likes dry filling-less edges.

Once the fillings are spread, bring the dough up over the sides to form a bowl-like structure. Sprinkle the edges of the dough with cinnamon/sugar. Bake until the crust is done; about 10 minutes or so.

After removing it from the oven, let it sit for a minute to cool and allow the fillings to set up a bit. Slice with a pizza cutter and enjoy with coffee. Go back for seconds. Resist going back for thirds, and instead grab a fork "just for another quick bite."