Instant Pot Journey: Trash Night Penne

Trash Night…

… is the night I go through my fridge or freezer and pick one thing that’s been sitting longer than I’d like. It either gets cooked or tossed. On this journey, I eliminated frozen Italian sausages, 3 partial bags of frozen veggies, the remains of a container of sour cream and the last of a block of parmesan.Continue reading

It’s Party Time!

Pampered Chef Party, that is.

First up… Feeding America is a domestic hunger relief organization that helps provide hungry families with the food they need through a huge network of food banks across the country. The keyword here is “domestic”, folks. Now that summer is here, we have an untold number of kids who aren’t getting the benefit of the discounted breakfasts and lunches provided when school’s in session.

So The Pampered Chef has teamed up with Feeding America to make their summer a happier and healthier one by donating a portion of their trivet sales during the month of June.

Then, there’s the rest of the show… loads of cooks tools and fabulous stuff for everyday and entertaining pleasure for both indoors and patio.

So come join the party! Have fun!

Bloody Caesar

I’ll take one of these over a Bloody Mary any day of the year.

The Vodka

1 liter good vodka
2 cups grated horseradish
1/2 cup black peppercorns

Pour the vodka in a large jug, add the horseradish and peppercorns and shake it up. Let it sit for 10-12 hours, but give it a shake every couple of hours. When it’s done, strain it through a coffee filter and pour it back in the bottle. Don’t worry about the color… that just means it’s absorbed all that horseradish and pepper.

The Mixer

48 ounce bottle of tomato juice
3 8 ounce bottles of clam juice
1 tablespoon Montreal Steak seasoning
1/4 cup lime juice
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish

Pour it all in a jug and shake it. Refrigerate for several hours until it’s good and cold.

The Drink

Fill a glass with ice. Give the mixer a good shake. Add the spicy vodka and mixer to the glass according to your tastes — 1 part vodka to 3 parts mixer works well. Stir and garnish with a celery stick or wedge of lime.

Crock Pot Beef Stew

Ingredients

  • 1 pounds stew beef
  • 1 cup flour
  • oil, for browning meat
  • 1 package Crockery Gourmet Seasoning For Beef
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 can Condensed French Onion Soup
  • 1 can Condensed Beef Consomm√©
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 4 potatoes, cut into 1 1/2″ chunks
  • 3 carrots, cut into 1″ chunks
  • 2 celery, cut into 1/4 ” chunks

Directions

  1. Coat stew beef with flour and brown in hot oil over medium high heat 2 minutes per side. Do not crowd pan.
  2. Transfer beef to bottom of slow cooker.
  3. Combine beef seasoning and water. Add soups, water, garlic and tomatoes. Pour over meat.
  4. Spread potatoes, carrots and celery on top of meat.
  5. Cook on high 6 hours or low 10 hours.

Quick Onion Rings

I love having onion rings with my burgers and steaks, but they’re sometimes more trouble than what it’s worth… there’s the slicing and the batter and the breading, not to mention dragging out the deep fryer and then having to clean it all up when you’re done.

So I cheat. I buy huge bags of frozen onion rings at Sam’s Club. When I want onion rings, I remove them from the freezer about 90 minutes ahead of time, use the sharp edge of a knife to knock all of the ice crystals off and lay them in a single layer on a rack to thaw.

About 15 minutes before dinner time, I spray them with a good coat of cooking spray and shove the rack into an oven preheated to 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 12 minutes until they’re golden brown.

They’re not as good as home-made and deep-fried, but they’re good ‘nuf.

Wicked Easy Pork Loin

Weekends were made for crockpot cooking. It’s the one time when you can actually sit down and enjoy a leisurely meal, but who wants to spend a lot of time preparing it? Crockpot to the rescue.

What you’ll need…

1 3-4 lb. boneless pork loin (not tenderloin — they’re not the same thing)
1 pkg. Superior Touch Crockery Gourmet Seasoning Mix for Pork
1 can Campbell’s Condensed French Onion Soup
2 cans water
course black pepper
dried herbs (optional)

What you’ll do with it…

Place the roast fat-side down in the bottom of a crockpot.
Mix the seasoning mix, soup and water with a whisk.
Pour the soup mixture over the roast.
Sprinkle on a liberal dose of pepper and herbs. Don’t add salt… the onion soup has plenty.

Cook on low 2 hours.
Turn the roast fat-side up and baste.
Continue cooking on low 5-6 hours more, basting every 2-3 hours.
Let it rest on a cutting board for 10 minutes before cutting.

Serve it au jus with the liquid straight from the pot or use the liquid to make gravy if you want something a little thicker.

If you don’t want to worry about turning the roast, start it fat-side up… but I think it turns out better if you turn it and baste it.

Holiday Leftovers: HoneyBaked Ham & Bean Soup

Ingredients:

Bone from HoneyBaked ham (fat and scraps in tact)
1 pound bag of dried mixed beans
12 cups water
1 T garlic powder
1 T dried onion flakes
2 T cajun seasoning
2 T Superior Touch Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base
1-2 cups diced onions and carrots
1-2 cups diced ham

Directions:

Soak beans in room temperature water for 24 hours. Don’t attempt to cheat with the hot water method. It’s not the same.

Place the beans, water, ham bone, water, spices and vegetable base in a large crock pot. Cook on low for 4 hours.

Add the onions and carrots. Continue cooking on low for another hour.

Add the diced ham and cook on low for one more hour.

What the heck is kombucha?

Surviving Whole Foods

ROFL.

My Mom ate white bread, cooked with real fat and would have probably assumed that a place with the name Whole Foods was a farm stand. And while she was a little bit nuts when she died at the young age of 92, we’d be lucky to be half as healthy as she was. I seriously doubt she ever tasted whole wheat bread, much less a substitute for it. I do remember she once bought a jar of Oil of Olay, but gave it away something like 10 years later unused. And if you dared to Namaste her, she’d probably be tempted to smack you for sassing.

Best potatoes ever!

Slather red potatoes in olive oil in a large bowl and dump in a bunch of sea salt. Use your hands to mix ’em up. If they don’t feel gritty, you need more salt.

Fire up your smoker and get the temp up to 300-350. Throw in the chips, position a grate on top of the plate setter and put the potatoes on the grate.

Close up the smoker and watch the temperature drop to 200. And stay there. Oops.

After about an hour, put your chicken on the upper grate and watch the temperature get stuck at 200 while the chicken just drips its juices on the potatoes.

Wait another 45-60 minutes… screw this… remove plate setter. Oops, potatoes are done and chicken isn’t close. Remove potatoes and wrap ’em in foil.

Continue to smoke the chicken. Aw, crap! Now the darn smoker wants to settle around 350. Insert thermometer and discover that chicken might be slightly overdone. Plate it and serve it anyway.

Uh… anyone want to trade me their potatoes for my chicken? Anyone? Come on, guys… think about your health. Anything that tastes this good can’t be good for you!