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Experiment with Spaghetti Squash

January 3, 2011

A spaghetti squash recipe with ground beef.

Ingredients:

1 small spaghetti squash

1/2 cup water

1 pound ground beef

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper

1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper

1 clove garlic, minced

1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes with liquid

1/2 teaspoon leaf oregano

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

2 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

Preparation:

Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Place spaghetti squash, cut side down, in a baking dish; add water to the baking dish. Cover and bake spaghetti squash in a 375° oven for about 30 minutes, or until the spaghetti squash is tender and easily pierced with a fork. When cool enough to handle, scoop out squash, separating strands with a fork. In a large skillet, cook the beef, onion, red and green pepper and garlic until meat is browned and vegetables are tender. Drain off fat; add tomatoes, oregano, salt, pepper and squash. Continue to cook and stir for about 2 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed. Transfer mixture to an ungreased 1 1/2-quart casserole; stir in 1 1/2 cups of shredded Cheddar cheese. Bake uncovered at 350° for 25 minutes. Sprinkle spaghetti squash with the remaining 1 cup of Cheddar cheese and cook for 5 minutes longer, or until cheese is melted.

Spaghetti squash recipe serves 4 to 6.
Rating: B

We used a deep dish cookie pan….

Note: Squash are hard to cut. Nuke them in the microwave for 2 minutes to soften the outer shell.

Used a regular fork to hollow out the insides when the squash was done with the first bake.

Shreds so easy!

We used venison burger cooked with a bit of garlic and onion minced.

Venison can have a gamey taste to it… you can use beef if you prefer!

After baking another 25 minutes… serve with garlic bread.

Note: we made our own honey oat bread which was delicious!

ENJOY!

Why Blogging Has Taken A Backseat (for now)…

December 10, 2010

You might be wondering why I suddenly stopped posting meals in October. You might not.

Because my blog automatically feeds to Facebook many of you already know the story of why blogging has taken a backseat.

In short: we have had a very tough, busy, hectic, scary couple of months.

At the end of October, Bobby interviewed for a teaching position in Three Forks, MT teaching Business and Technology 7-12th grade. Less than an hour after the interview he got a call with a job offer. As he put it – we were more scared about getting the job than not getting the job.

Get the job: Move our whole life and quit my job at Montana Youth Challenge.

Not get the job: Stay comfortably in Dillon and Bobby would go work full time for the newspaper.

So we took a leap of faith the first week of November and took the dream job. After that life is a blurr.

We have made one mad dash home for Thanksgiving with a stop in Three Forks.

We have found one awesome home for rent right up the street from our good friends the Hale/Butlers.

And finally for the grand finale of our stressful month: we found out that black cows on the highway at night are not easy to avoid. :( We are still dealing with the insurance mess and trying to educate ourselves on Montana’s Open Range law.

The postive spin on this is that we are going to be okay, the car had full coverage insurance including medical, and we will hopefully be out of debt to Wells Fargo at the end of the month.

578 Colter Trail

And we found a house in Three Forks – for rent – and it will be the first time in 10 years that I haven’t had roommates (other than a husband and our dogs and cat). YAY!

3 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom
bonus room
2 car garage
deck and balcony
washer/dryer

 

I can’t wait to have my own home, my own kitchen, my own GARAGE! :)

So, stay tuned, more from the Kitchen Coop from its new location in Three Forks.

A Cajun Treat and Easy Dinner Plans

October 12, 2010

My co-worker Sheila (the one who introduced us to Slap-Your-Mama seasoning) just returned from Lousiana and brought back a cajun treat for us! Deep Fried Peanuts! Mmm! Bobby is going to be so excited when he sees these!

Tonight’s meal plan is easy: Tortilla Soup by Bear Creek soups. I was going to add the entry but I am just to tired to click and shoot.

The Herb Project

October 8, 2010

We are experimenting growing herbs indoors this fall/winter. Basil, Oregano, Chives and Cilantro to start. I am slowly infusing coffee grounds into the old flower dirt to give it a nutritional boost. Does anybody else grow herbs indoors? Any tips?

Whole Wheat Honey Oat Pancakes

October 7, 2010

We were craving breakfast for dinner so I whipped up a new pancake recipe I found.
Ingredients
1 egg
½ cup whole wheat flour (we swear by Wheat Montana Prairie Gold)
½ cup quick cooking oats
¼ cup white flour
¾ cup milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon honey
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
In medium size bowl, whisk the egg until it is lemon colored & a little foamy; whisk in the milk, oil and honey (*see note). Add the flour, oats, baking powder and salt; whisk just until everything is well mixed (don‘t over whisk). Let batter sit for about 5 minutes before cooking.
NOTE: Use a scant 1/3 cup of batter for each pancake.
NOTE: The honey will want to “stay together” and sit on the bottom of your bowl, so make sure you completely mix it into the milk BEFORE you add the flour and oats (that way you won’t over mix the batter).

We used a big skillet which helped keep the pancakes fluffy and light brown. MMM…

Notice how I make mine traditional with butter and syrup and Bobby makes his peanut butter and jelly style.

We love breakfast for dinner!

Rating: A (fluffy and delish but wish I had Turkey Bacon instead of regular)

Banana Split Ice Cream Cake – Three Part

October 5, 2010

We decided to make an ice cream cake this weekend with absolutely nothing but a few different recipes thrown together. :)

I wouldn’t call it an easy recipe – especially since it took two of us running around the kitchen like nuts (or for this recipe…lack of nuts).

First Part: Chocolate Sponge Cake

Recipe from Food Network.com courtesy of Emeril Lagasse

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons butter
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a small saucepan, heat the milk and 2 tablespoons butter together. Using an electric mixer fitted with a wire whip, combine the eggs and 2 cups sugar together. Beat on medium-high speed for about 8 minutes, or until the mixture is pale yellow, thick and has tripled in volume. With the machine running slowly add the heated milk. In a mixing bowl sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt together. Fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture and mix thoroughly so that there are no lumps and the mixture is smooth. Fold in the vanilla. Grease and flour a round cake pan. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of sugar. Pour the cake batter evenly into the pan and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the cake springs back when touched. Cool for about 2 minutes. Using a thin knife, loosen the edges of the cake, then flip onto a wire rack and cool completely.

For this recipe we like to pour the the cake batter into two greased and floured two round pans for two layered ice cream cake. You could also make on think cake and slice the sponge cake in two.


Second Part: Banana Ice Cream

Recipe from ice-cream-recipes.com

If you have an automated ice cream maker, or one that you churn with ice, this is a great easy recipe for delicious banana ice cream! In an ice cream maker it can churn and freeze in 20-30 minutes.

If you do not have an ice cream maker you could use soft vanila ice cream with chopped bananas mixed in. :)

Ingredients:

 3/4 pint (375ml) milk or cream

  • (or a mixture of both according to taste),
  • 4oz (100g) sugar,
  • 3 ripe bananas (to purée)

Purée the bananas place in a mixing bowl. Pour in the milk/cream and sugar, mixing in well as you do so. Transfer the whole mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

My personal preference is to allow the ice cream to freeze but eat it when is still considered soft serve. In this case we started the ice cream 20 minutes before we knew we would need it for the ice cream cake.

Third Part: Assembly and Toppings

I decided to break out my fabulously hand-me-downed Easy-Accent tool from … well no name dropping needed.

Stuffing the Easy-Accent tool full with the banana soft-serve ice cream, Bobby easily topped off the first layer of chocolate sponge cake before adding Maraschino cherries (drained without stems) and a swirl of chocolate syrup. He pointed out that we could have just slapped the ice cream on the bottom layer of cake but: 1) I really wanted to use that tool. 2) He and I both know it wouldn’t have looked as cool!

Time to top with our other half of chocolate sponge and then whip up some fresh whipped cream!

(For fresh Whipped Cream: use a hand mixer to mix 1/2 pt. whipping cream, 3 tbsp. sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla until it is think and foamy! Delish!)

Add whipped cream to the top layer of the cake like a frosting.

Add sliced bananas to the top.

Add warm caramel topping (not boiling hot like I unfortunately tried to pour).

Add another drizzle of chocolate syrup.

 

Now comes the hardest part… literally.

Put the cake in the freezer and let it freeze up for at least 2 hours. We waited till the next day… which almost made the cake too hard. BUT SO WORTH IT.

And finally… after all that work…let’s cut the cake!

Note: cutting the cake was a lot harder than we thought. Broke one knife. Learned that sawing the first piece out was a necessary evil. Next time we will let it set at room temperature for a few minutes before cutting.

Rating: A+


 

Pork: The “Other” White Meat

October 2, 2010

Experiment One: Pulled Pork on Whole Wheat Butter Rolls

Ingredients:

Pulled Pork

-2 lbs Pork Tenderloin

-2 tsp Onion Salt

-1 tsp Pepper

-1 tsp Cayenne Pepper

-1/2 Cup Olive Oil

-2 cups favorite/homemade bbq sauce (I used the grocery store brand of hickory smoke bbq sauce)

Step 1. Purchase a quality pork tenderloin – sometimes I get lucky at the local grocery store and get a 8lb tenderloin for 1/2 the price!

Step 2. Chop your pork into 1 lb chunks and wrap pork chunks in press and seal wrap. Set aside 2 lbs for this recipe. Place the rest in a freezer bag for a later meal.


Step 3. Trim the thick fat off the backside of the tenderloin.

Step 4. Mix Onion Salt, Pepper and Cayenne Pepper together and rub into the trimmed tenderloin. (Note: I used a special spice “Slap Ya Mama” which is a cajun spice a friend brought me from Louisiana. Bobby uses it on everything. Even popcorn.)


Step 5. Place tenderloin in a 2 quart slow cooker on high.

Step 6. Pour 1/2 cup of olive oil (I prefer extra virgin) over the pork and seal the crock pot. I like to put a layer of tin foil under the lid to reflect the eat back on the tenderloin.

Step 7. Cook for 3 Hours on High Heat or Max – Turning over every hour.

Now time to bake the buns!

Whole Wheat Butter Rolls in a bread machine

Ingredients: (All ingredients at room temperature except milk – add to break machine bin in order)

-2 tbs sugar

-1 tsp salt

-1/4 cup water

-7/8 cup of milk (7 ounces)

-1/4 cup butter

-1 egg

-2 and 3/4 cups bread flour (I use whole wheat from Wheat Montana)

-2 tsp active dry yeast

Step 1. Measure all ingredients into bread pan in order being careful to pour yeast into a finger sized crater in the wheat flour so it doesn’t touch water.

Step 2. Select Dough setting on your machine.

Step 3. Start Mixing process (different on all machines).

Step 4. When the dough has been mixed and risen twice (usually 1 1/2 hrs) take out of bread pan and cut into 9-10 equal pieces. Roll into ball.

Step 5. Place on greased baking pans.

Step 6. Preheat oven to 350 degress F.

Step 7. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.

Step 8. Enjoy a refreshing drink while waiting for the meal to cook. :)

Final Prep

Step One: Chop up cooked pork tenderloin into small chunks or thin slices (depending on how you like your sandwich) and return to the slow cooker.

Step Two: Add two cups of barbeque sauce and let simmer for 30 minutes.

Step Three: Slice buns in half and serve with the pork. Serve with maple cured baked beans on the side and your choice of veggies.

ENJOY!

Rating: B+

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