Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Recent Meals in Our House

There is nothing so delicious to do with a nice slab of roast beef than to cook it all day with potatoes and onions. Not that we have roasts all that often, but about once every 3 months one of the local grocery stores will be selling roasts for $1.98/lb -- so I take the opportunity and buy at least 3. This recipe is my maternal grandmother's staple, and it's a good one!

Turn your oven to 500F, allow it to preheat. Meanwhile, cover the roast with a good layer of black pepper, and salt generously. Place in a dutch oven, and move into the preheated oven. Cut potatoes into large chunks, and half or quarter onions. You can add as many as you like. Carrots are also good, although my grandmother never adds them. And a peeled garlic clove or two, or even a handful, would not hurt either. ;-)

Once you can hear the roast sizzling, remove from the oven and add the vegetables. Decrease the oven temperature to the lowest setting possible (200 F for me), and place the covered dutch oven into the oven for the rest of the day. My grandmother likes to get it in there by 9 am for a 6 or 7 pm dinner. So I guess that would mean at least 9 hours. Trust me, this will make your house smell wonderful all day, and when it comes time to serve you need not have any utensil other than a spoon.


My husband has recently fallen in love with pumpkin muffins. I bought two pie pumpkins from the store, and we spent an hour or so removing the pulp, microwaving them, and then mashing them up. From those two pumpkins, we got 5 cups of pumpkin (which as you might remember, is exactly as much grated zucchini as I got from 1 zucchini from my mother's garden). Since that time, whole wheat pumpkin muffins have become one of JunkMale's favorite foods. Here is the recipe I use, which I'm sure I got from some place, but I do not quite remember where -- and I never follow recipes exactly anyway, so I'll just claim it as my own. ;-)

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins

Into a large bowl combine:
-1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
-1/2 cup chopped walnuts
-1/2 cup brown sugar
-3/4 to 1 tsp cinnamon
-1/4 tsp ground cloves
-about 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
-3/4 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-1/2 tsp salt

Make a well in the dry ingredients, and into that well dump:
-2 eggs
-1 cup cooked and mashed pumpkin (I have not tried this with canned pumpkin yet, but I would assume that works just as well)
-1/2 cup oil
-1/2 cup honey

Mix until just combined. Fill muffin pans as full as you like (I aim for somewhere around 2/3 full), and bake at 350 F for 18 minutes.


Kim's recent post on Baked Herb Chicken reminded me very strongly of my mother's chicken and rice dish she served when we were young. I used to love this meal, and I was quite shocked that I had never thought to make it for my family. But, we have decided not to buy condensed "Cream of X" soups, so I had to get a bit creative. Or rather, I just had to find someone else's creative "Cream of X" look-alike recipe. My recipe of choice came from recipezaar.com, and was made without addition (ie, mushrooms, celery, chicken) so that it is simply a generic "Cream" soup base. I was very impressed with how it turned out, once it had cooled down (the soup was much too liquid when it was warm). The only problem I have with this recipe is the amount of butter called for. Oh my. Next time, perhaps a lower calorie version.

I had a picture in my mind of what this dinner was going to look like, and quite honestly it wasn't entirely my mom's recipe or Kim's, but a new creation.

-1 recipe condensed "Cream of X" soup
-2 cups long grain brown rice, soaked and drained
-4 cups chicken broth
-2 tsp lemon juice
-5 bone-in chicken breasts (or other chicken pieces)
-about 1/2 cup frozen peas (I kept adding until it looked right, so I have no idea how much I put in)
-4 oz fresh button mushrooms
-basil, marjoram, sage, thyme to taste

Combine all but chicken in your pan (or pans) of choice. Place chicken on top of rice mixture. Bake at 300 F for 3 hours, and the rice will be so done you can't even tell it's brown. :-D

I split mine up into two pans - one with a glass lid and one with a plastic, NOT oven-safe lid. So one was cooked covered and the other uncovered. Both turned out fine - the only difference I noticed was that the skin on the uncovered one was nice and crispy and golden brown. This has been an outstanding success, and it's so easy once the fake condensed soup is made that I will definitely be making this more regularly.

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  • Harmony's Mom

    I have to say that Mom used to ALWAYS put carrots in her roast but lately she hasn't. I'm not sure why. I know Kebbie doesn't like carrots. When Mom doesn't have anyone to cook for, she only puts in what she likes. So maybe that's it.