Friday Night Dinner: Just an old-fashioned Cheddar-Mushroom Burger with Parmesan-Cilantro Oven Fries

Ms. Foodie had a wonderful time cleansing and resetting the body; all to enjoy this tasty, Friday night treat.

To limit the calories, and so as not to shock the system too much, Ms. Foodie prepared it all in the oven.

I basted my beef in Worcestershire sauce and mixed it with Ground Cumin, Ground Mustard, Ground Ginger, chopped Mushrooms, Onions, Garlic, Cilantro, Sea Salt and Lemon Pepper; then formed them into patties and placed the patties in a 425 degree oven.

For the fries, Ms. Foodie cut potatoes in wedges, then marinated them in Olive Oil, Parmesan-Romano Cheese, Cilantro, and Sea Salt, then placed them on a baking sheet. In the potatoes went into the oven, at the same temperature.

Ms. Foodie topped the Burger with Cheddar and a dollop of Miracle Whip, and Mustard.

A delicate combination of flavors, and so much lighter than you would imagine!

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Broiled Dijon Burger

Is what’s for dinner!  Marinated in Dijon Mustard, and stuffed with colorful red and orange Baby Bells, Green Onion, Garlic and Mushrooms, you get all of the flavor, without all the fat.

With a slice of Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Kale and Tomato, it’s even tastier!

Chicken Pot Pie–the ultimate comfort food

So the Holidays are coming to a close, but it’s still winter, and Ms. Foodie is still needing some comfort and joy!

Chicken pot pies were always my favorite meal as a child, and they are easy to make with ingredients in the store, or quickly bought.  What better way to not only get rid of some of my leftovers, but create a meal that is filling and satisfying.

I had a couple of roast chicken carcasses leftover from my festivities, so I opted to use those.  Otherwise, you can buy cubed chicken breast, or whatever chicken meat you prefer.  Saves you time too, but you know me–love the process!  I also like the double-crust method, so purchase two shells if that is also your bent.

I threw both chickens in a pot, chopped up about 1/2 cup of yellow onion, and stew it on low until the meat falls off the bones.  I sifted the bones and transferred the chicken and a cup of the stock to a skillet.

In another skillet, I sautéed about a 1/2 cup of mushrooms and 1/2 cup of celery in 2 tablespoons butter.  I transferred this to the chicken and stock skillet, along with chunky organic carrots, and organic green peas.  I added about a 1/4 cup of whipping cream and 1/2 cup of whole milk, then seasoned the mix with Thyme, Pepper, Sea Salt and Rosemary to taste.  Finally, I added about 1/3 cup of flour to thicken the mixture, covered the skillet and let it simmer for 25 minutes.

While the mixture was doing its ruminating, I prepped a 9 x 13 pan with nonstick spray, then spread the crust, covering the bottom and sides of the pan. After poking a few holes, I placed it in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes in order to crisp the crust and keep it from turning gummy during cooking.

I transferred the cooked mixture into to the pre-cooked crust, filling it to the top, then took the second pie crust and covered the mixture to complete the pie!

30-35 minutes in that same 350 degree oven is all that’s needed.  Before you know it, a perfect (and yummy) Chicken Pot Pie is born!

What’s for Dinner?

Ms. Foodie is having Garlic Chicken Fragrant Rice tonight!  Allrecipes.com is the place to go for this quick and easy recipe.  This could be called a “one-pot” meal, because it’s all prepared in a rice cooker.  If you don’t have one, you must purchase it as soon as possible!  Perfect rice every time, and it steams vegetables beautifully.

Of course, I use any recipe as a launch point to do my own thing: I prefer more chicken, so instead of one thigh, I add two. I  also use two green onions, where the recipe calls for only one–Double the pleasure, double the fun!

Mmm… Mmmm… Mmmm!

Breakfast in a Biscuit

So Ms. Foodie Patootie had an epiphany: instead of making plain ‘ole biscuits to eat, why not create a tasty treat?  Uh, oh! Watch out!  I’m a foodie and a poet.

But seriously, chefs of every culture have been filling dough with all kinds of good stuff, from Empanadas to Pierogies–so my idea is nothing new, just a variation on an old theme.

My first trick was going back to that Kitchen-Cabinet Cooking principle: What’s in the store?  Lucky for me, I always keep on hand a baking mix–any baking mix, whether it’s Bisquick® or a generic store brand.  They usually have a quick n’ dirty biscuit recipe on the back of the box, and so that is where I began!

Once I formed the dough mixture, I set it aside and attended to the stuff inside.  Going back to the stores, I still had some ham left, so I finely chopped some of that, and combined it with Sharp Cheddar and a couple of pats of butter to enhance the flavor of the dough.

Once again, the beauty of the Kitchen-Cabinet Cooking method is improvisation.  Nothing’s set in stone, it’s whatever works with your diet and your budget.  I already have visions of stuffing them with ground beef, Swiss cheese and mushroom.  So, whether you’re a carnivore, omnivore or herbivore, adapt to suit your fancy!

I filled my dough just enough to fill the center, then wrapped it around from the corners to join them in the center.

Once your filling is all wrapped and snug, pop them in a preheated 425 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes, and whaddaya know?  An instant breakfast or brunch appetizer!

What I most like about these is that they are freezable: so you can store and eat the remainder at your leisure.

That is, if there are any remaining…

What’s for Dinner? Potato Gnocchi with Peas and Ham Béchamel

Yes, yes… still going through the Kitchen Cabinet cookbook, and ham happens to be the major meat store–good thing I’m a fan.  But I will say it again–you can substitute any protein of your choosing.

For this recipe, I took my lovely chopped ham and added it to my own Béchamel Sauce.  In English, that’s simply melted butter mixed with flour, and hot milk.  

But I decided to throw in some traditionally Carbonara Sauce ingredients: peas, ham and a twist–my wild mushrooms.  I even poured in some of the mushroom broth to extend the sauce.  Sprinkle in some pepper, and ooh la la, yummy for the tummy!

I stock packaged Gnocchi, which is a potato pasta; it soaks up all that good stuff.  Gnocchi is easy, cheap, and if you have the potatoes, something that you can make from scratch.  But that, my friends, is a recipe for another day.

To modify an advertising slogan: Stay hungry, my friends.

What’s for breakfast? More Kitchen Cabinet Cooking

Ms. Foodie Patootie was very hungry this morning, which is rare–usually the coffee-IV does it for me for at least two hours.  So to continue with our theme of Kitchen Cabinet Cooking, I decided to whip up a favorite boiled egg breakfast sandwich that is easy to make, with ingredients you normally have on hand, come rain or come shine.

I’m not as young as I used to be, so fiber has definitely become more important in my dietary life: which is why I love these Alvarado Street Bakery breads.  High fiber content, organic ingredients, and it’s still tasty!  I toasted a couple of slices of Sprouted Sourdough while my eggs were boiling.

Now here’s where your preferences come in–what to include as an accompaniment to your egg sandwich.  Being partial to pork, that ham I have stashed in my store comes into play, along with some delicious Knott’s Berry Farm Boysenberry Preserves.  But easy and versatile is the key, so you can use butter, mayonnaise or some other type of spread or protein that you enjoy and have on hand.   I’ve even used just salsa!  My sister Joan is a vegetarian, so she likes that one 😀

Once the eggs were boiled to my liking (hard), and I slathered my bread with the spread and protein of choice, I sliced the eggs crosswise and arranged them on top of my bread and spread.

You can eat it dainty  as two separate pieces, or put ’em together to make your sandwich.  I prefer the sandwich method.

I promise, it’s delish!

Soup is good food…

So like most people, I’m in between paychecks, which means we are low on stores.  Getting down to the dregs of the cabinet, so to speak.  Good thing I pick good dregs!

I call it Kitchen Cabinet Cooking, and being one who is familiar with cash flow problems, I’ve become quite good at it; so during flush times, I stock my kitchen accordingly.

I try to always keep a soup base in my store–usually an organic corn chowder or butternut squash.  So I decided to use Imagine‘s Organic Creamy Sweet Corn Soup and turn it into a pot of Chunky Corn Chowder!

When I make a roast, ham, or whole chicken, I chop up the leftovers and freeze them.  So I pulled out some frozen ham I had stashed, then added a frozen mixed vegetable medley, and there you go–from creamy to chunky in five minutes flat!

For the pièce de résistance, I took some dehydrated wild mushrooms and soaked them in hot water for about 20 minutes.   A bit of the mushroom broth gives a nice flavor to any dish, along with the chopped mushroom pieces.

Add some herbs and spices of your choice (I’m partial to pepper, basil, oregano and thyme), cook it for about 30 minutes or so, then serve it up with a dollop of sour cream and some fresh spinach, parsley or pepper pieces.

Voilà!  A luxurious dinner produced with spartan ingredients.

A serving suggestion: Trader Joe’s makes these fabulous pretzel rolls that come in a ring, and make a great accompaniment.

But as I said, we’re low on the stores, so Lynn improvised with another personal favorite that was in the store: Carr’s Table Water Crackers baked with Roasted Garlic and Herbs…

Soup is perfect for this rainy night in Los Angeles.  Mmm, mmm, Good!