Betti's Kitchen Table

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New Menu System

So, I was sick this past December all I kept getting was “what’s for dinner?” questions and when I would tell them, it was “how do I make that?”  So I decided that we needed a menu system so that if I was sick, or if I was at the hospital with Mom, I would just direct them to the menu box and they would find all the menus and recipes and everything that they needed to be able to make supper.  I purchased a 5×8 snap together card file and some self adhesive index tabs.  I established 10 categories for the recipes:  Beverages & Appetizers, Beef, Pork & Sausage, Chicken, Side Dishes, Salads, Desserts, Sandwiches & Burgers, Soups, Stews, & Chilis, Breads, and Exotic Meats & Seafood.  Since I could only find index cards in White, Lavender, Green, Red, Yellow, and Blue – I chose Red for Beef, Pork & Sausage, Yellow for Poultry, Green for Salads, Blue for Side Dishes, Lavender for Desserts, and White for the rest.  I plan my menus a month at a time, as I prefer to do a large shopping trip once per month and then I could just do short weekly shopping trips for produce and items that don’t have a long shelf life.  So, the photos below are examples of what I have done.   Planning a month at a time also allows me to make sure that the meals are balanced and everyone knows what is for dinner.  When I a doing my menu planing, I ask around and find out if there is anything in particular that they want for dinner.  They are able to express what they want and everyone is happy.  At this point, I do not menu plan for breakfast, lunches or snacks but I think I may have to start doing that soon.  That would at least help me to plan.  It is an idea that I am toying with for the moment but haven’t made any set plans for at this time. Once I get the menu planned, I sit down with my recipe cards and write the necessary ingredients for each recipe and side dish. Then I enter the menu and the shopping list into the computer in an excel spreadsheet.  I like excel for the list as I can sort by ingredient and consolidate duplicates.  I have specific items that I keep a check on every week; staples like tea bags and sugar, spices and milk, and that sort of thing.  I also write down spices so that I can make sure I have the spices that I need for the recipes. So, enjoy, I hope that this helps someone else as much as it helps me.  Please comment and let me know how this works for you if you decide to implement this system.  Happy Cooking!

Card File Menu 2 Menu Recipe Card 1 Recipe Card 2 Shopping List

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Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

This recipe came from “Don’t Panic Dinner’s in the Freezer”. I currently have a gallon of this soup in my freezer and can’t wait for a cool, crisp night to heat it up and eat it! It’s quite delicious and I served it with shredded cheddar cheese, diced avocado, and sour cream as possible toppings. It was a hit!

 

Chicken Tortilla Soup

 

1 Medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1-2 T olive oil

2 lbs shredded chicken (baked or boiled)

14 oz can diced tomatoes

5 oz can Ro-Tel tomatoes (I used Mild)

1-14 oz can beef broth

1-14 oz can chicken broth

1-10 oz can tomato soup

1 ½ cans of water (use the soup can)

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. lemon-pepper seasoning

2tsp. Worcestershire sauce

½ tsp. Tabasco

 

Saute onion and garlic in oil until soft and onions are translucent. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 30 – 35 minutes.  Serve with grated cheese, tortilla chips, sliced or cubed avocado, sour cream, fresh diced tomatoes, or chopped fresh cilantro.

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Caramel Apple Dump Cake

Not sure where I got the recipe for this cake – most likely it was off of Facebook – so I have no idea who to give credit to but I have made this and it is amazing. Watch out though as it is very, very rich. Pour a glass of milk and enjoy!

Caramel Apple Dump Cake

2 cans apple pie filling
1 box yellow cake mix
1jar caramel sauce
2 sticks butter melted
Whipped cream for garnish

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9×13 baking dish. Mix caramel sauce and both cans of pie filling in the dish. Pour the cake mix over the top of the filling. Pour melted butter over top of cake mix. Bake at 350 for 50 to 60 minutes. Or till golden brown.

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Lemon Herb Chicken

Well, this weekend I was blessed with four or five whole chickens. I normally do not buy whole chicken, nor do I normally cook whole chickens but I figured I would rather than cutting them up. I figured this would be a chance to experiment. I have seen lots of recipes for chicken made with lemons and I just happened to have a hole bag of lemons that I needed to use before they spoiled. Et voila! Lemon herb chicken and roasted corn with lemon chili butter. Most of the recipes that I had seen called for the use of fresh herbs, and undeniably fresh does give better flavor, but all I had was dried herbs. So I improvised. I like a nice crispy skin on roasted chicken and one of my tricks is to stuff butter under the skin when I do cook whole birds. So I made lemon pepper butter and improvised the rest. I have a large family and cook for anywhere from seven to nine people on any given night, but you could easily half the recipe. Here goes….

Ingredients

8 whole lemons
2 whole chickens thawed
2 T dried Rosemary
1 T dried Thyme leaves
1 T whole peppercorns
1 tsp. freshly cracked pepper
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup good olive oil
Kosher salt
1 Gallon size Ziploc bag

Directions
Place 1 stick of butter in a small bowl. Zest two of the lemons into the bowl with the butter. Squeeze the juice from these two lemons into the same bowl, and save the lemon halves. Add 1/2 tsp. freshly cracked pepper. Stir to combine. Place juiced and zested lemon halves into Ziploc bag. Of the remaining 6 lemons, cut two into thick slices and the rest into quarters and place in the Ziploc Bag. Add the olive oil and the dried Thyme. Place the whole peppercorns and the dried Rosemary in a mortar and pestle and crush slightly, then add to the bag with the lemons. Seal the bag and move the lemons around to mix the herbs and distribute it among the lemons. Let sit for four hours. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the necks and innards packets from the chickens, any loose fat, and pat the chickens dry outside. Sprinkle with salt and freshly cracked pepper and rub he seasonings into the chickens. Using your hands, loosen the skin from the chicken breast. Stuff the slices of lemon under the skin of the breasts and put the lemon quarters into the cavity. Close the opening with trussing string or with toothpicks. Rub the lemon pepper butter on the outside of the chicken and wrap the entire chicken in aluminum foil. Roast at 350 for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or a meat thermometer reads an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Open foil during the last 30 minutes of roasting time to allow the skin to brown and crisp up.

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Roasted corn with Lemon Chili butter

I was blessed with several whole chickens this weekend and decided to cook them. I also found whole ears of corn on sale for .29 each so I bought ten of them. I had recently had some roasted corn with a chili lime butter and it was delicious, so I thought I would try to duplicate it. I didn’t have limes but plenty of lemons so I figured citrus is citrus – I will use what I have.

Ingredients

10 ears of corn, still in the husks
1 stick of butter, room temperature
Zest of 2 lemons
1/2 T chili powder
Salt and freshly cracked pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wrap corn, still in husks, in aluminum foil and roast in oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until tender. While corn is roasting, combine lemon zest, chili powder, and butter in a small bowl. When corn is done, unwrap from foil and husk. Corn will be hot! Butter corn with chili butter and salt and pepper to taste.

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Found a new love!

Went to Mobile this weekend with my mom and daughter.  Saturday we went to lunch at Olive Garden and had the soup, salad, and breadsticks.  I had the Chicken and Gnocchi soup.  O.M.Goodness!!  It was DIVINE… I made a point of saying then and there that I HAD to go home and try and duplicate this soup! I haven’t done it yet but man oh man am I going to try!  I was fabulous!  I love Gnocchi and make a Gnocchi and Spinach dish in a Gorgonzola sauce that is inspired by Rachel Ray. I hoe you will enjoy this as much as my family does!

Ingredients

2 packages shelf stable Gnocchi

1 large bag frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

4 cloves garlic pressed

2 cups chicken stock

8 ounces of crumbled Gorgonzola

1 shallot, minced

 3 tablespoons flour

3 tablespoons butter

1 cup milk or cream

1/8 tsp. grated nutmeg

3 ounces Pine nuts

Bring 8 cups of water to a boil in a large pot.  While water is coming to a boil, melt the butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Sauté the shallots until translucent and soft. Add the flour and stir to make a roux. Add the milk a little at a time, stirring with a whisk to keep it smooth.  When all the milk is incorporated, grate 1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg over the sauce.  Add chicken stock a little at a time, stirring after each addition, until all the chicken stock is added.  Squeeze the spinach dry in a clean kitchen towel (I use flour sack towels for this) and add this to the sauce. Press the garlic cloves into the sauce and stir till combined. Salt the boiling water and add the Gnocchi.  When the Gnocchi floats to the top, it is done.  DO NOT overcook the Gnocchi; it will be tough ad rubbery. Scoop the cooked Gnocchi out of the water with a Spider or a handheld strainer and place in a colander.  When al the Gnocchi is cooked and the sauce is thick, salt and pepper the sauce to taste then stir in the Gorgonzola.  Stir till the Gorgonzola is melted, then add the Gnocchi.  Stir to coat the Gnocchi and transfer to a serving platter.  Toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet for about four minutes, tossing frequently.  Sprinkle the pine nuts over the Gnocchi and enjoy! This makes a great meatless dinner!

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White Chicken Chili

This one came from Gimme Some Oven.  It is a white chili recipe that I tried and absolutely loved.  The only thing I did was cut the chopped green chiles in half and added an extra seeded jalapeno and more garlic because I love some garlic. I also used fresh chicken instead of a rotisserie chicken.  It was a big hit even with my brother in law who hates chicken! I have included it here with the modifications that I made but you can find the original recipe here.

 

Ingredients:

 

t T Olive Oil

2 small sweet onions, 1/2 inch dice

2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped

6 cloves garlic, minced

4 cups chicken stock

4 chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces

1 (4 oz.) can chopped green chilis.

2 cans cannellini beans, drained

1 T cumin

1 tsp. dried oregano

pinch of ground cayenne pepper

pinch of white pepper

1 cup whole milk

2 T masa harina

Salt and pepper to taste

garnishes – Monterey jack cheese, avocados, sour cream, salsa, or serve over rice.

 

Heat oil in a large stockpot or dutch oven over medium high heat.  Add the chicken and cook till no longer pink.  Remove chicken from pan and add onion and jalapenos.  Saute for five or six minutes or until the onion is translucent.  Add the garlic and cook for a couple more minutes, or until the garlic is fragrant.   Add the chicken back to the pan along with the chicken stock, green chiles, cannellini beans, cumin, oregano, cayenne, white pepper and stir to combine.  Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cover and let simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes.  About 10 minutes before serving, stir in the milk and masa harina.  Uncover and stir till soup is thickened.  Salt and pepper to taste. Serve over rice with sliced avocados or sour cream.

 

 

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Disclaimer etc…

A dear friend of mine sent me a couple of links today so I am going to go ahead and post this here.  Many of my recipes are either inspired by or adapted from any one of several chefs: Anne Burrell, Giada De Laurentis, Rachel Ray, Bobby Flay, Guy Fieri, Alton Brown, Clare Robinson, and I could go on.  If it is a recipe that I have not made a ton of changes to, or even if it is, I will state where I got it from and give credit where credit is due.  I do have some recipes that are totally my own creation.  I read lots of different cookbooks and watch lots of cooking shows.  Sometimes I don’t remember where I got an idea for a dish from.  If I have a citation I will use it.  If you see something on my blog that should have a citation, please do not hesitate to let me know so that I can give credit where credit is due.  Happy Cooking!

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Beef ,Bacon, Leek and Tomato Salad

This has to be my favorite salad EVER.  Admittedly, I copied the recipe from Rachel Ray’s B-L-T Salad found on Food Network, which you can find here.  I have changed it and made it my own though so I am going to share my version with you, including Pictures!

leeks

If you are not familiar with leeks, you can read about them at Wise Geek, but they are similar to an onion with a milder flavor.  They can be prepared many different ways and I love them!  This is an entrée style salad and it absolutely fabulous, in my humble opinion.  The ice water for the leeks is an important step as it allows the leeks to separate and any grit trapped in between the layers will fall to the bottom of the bowl. So here goes!

B-L-T Salad

1 – 3 to 4 pound London Broil

1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus extra for drizzling

Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

1 pound bacon, chopped

1/2 cup Hormel Bacon Recipe pieces

3 large leeks, trimmed of dark green tops and sliced

2 T Worcestershire sauce

6 T Red Wine Vinegar

2 T Dijon Mustard

3 hearts of Romaine lettuce Chopped

2 Beefsteak tomatoes, cut into wedges

Bring London Broil to room temperature. While meat is coming to room temperature, slice leeks and place in a large bowl of ice water. Let soak for about 15 minutes. Heat 2T of olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed pan over medium heat. Add the bacon in batches and render the fat out.  Cook the bacon till crispy, then drain on a paper towel.  Drain and reserve bacon fat for dressing.  Add 2 T Olive oil to pan and let heat.  Remove leeks from ice water and drain on a clean kitchen towel.  Make sure you pat the leeks dry or they will spit when you put them n the pan.  Add the leeks to the pan and cook until leeks are wilted and tender. Add bacon back to the pan and heat through. Place London Broil on a hot grill and cook to desired doneness.  (5-6 minutes per side for rare, 8-9 minutes per side for medium, 12-13 minutes per side for well.  Only turn the meat once!) Take meat off the grill and let it rest for 10 minutes. While meat is resting, combine bacon fat, zest and juice of one lemon, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, Hormel Bacon pieces, salt and pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and a splash of water in food processor or blender.  Cover and blend on high for 2 minutes.  Stream in 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil.

To assemble salad: Cut London Broil across the grain into thin strips. Place a handful of lettuce on dinner plate. Arrange four tomato wedges around the edge of the plate.  Spoon leek and bacon combination over the lettuce and place 2-3 slices of steak on top of the leeks. Spoon dressing over the steak.  Enjoy!

The finished product!

The finished product!

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First Post

Here it is! Now if I can figure out the rest of it!  HA!  Happy Cooking!

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