Jan 312020
 

Recipe for a Perfect Wife audiobook cover art

Recipe For A Perfect Housewife by Karma Brown

Narrated by: Jorjeana Marie, Mozhan Marnò
Length: 9 hrs and 51 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release date: 12-31-19
Language: English
Publisher: Penguin Audio

When Alice Hale leaves a career in publicity to become a writer and follows her husband to the New York suburbs, she is unaccustomed to filling her days alone in a big, empty house. But when she finds a vintage cookbook buried in a box in the old home’s basement, she becomes captivated by the cookbook’s previous owner – 1950’s housewife Nellie Murdoch. As Alice cooks her way through the past, she realizes that within the cookbook’s pages, Nellie left clues about her life – including a mysterious series of unsent letters penned to her mother.

Soon, Alice learns that while baked Alaska and meatloaf five ways may seem harmless, Nellie’s secrets may have been anything but. When Alice uncovers a more sinister – even dangerous – side to Nellie’s marriage, and has become increasingly dissatisfied with the mounting pressures in her own relationship, she begins to take control of her life and protect herself with a few secrets of her own.

Thoughts
WOW… but first let me say I LOVED this book!
I loved that it took place in the 1950’s and again in the 2000’s.
I loved that the two stories took place in the same house.
I loved that Nellie’s story influenced what happened in Alice’s story.
I loved all the 1950’s recipes.
I loved that the recipe book was Nellie’s mother, then Nellie’s, and then Alice’s.
I loved the ending!

This book was a bit scary/freaky, it was part love story & part out of love story, a few of the characters were manipulative, but they were all a great addition to the story. The pace was steady and it kept me interested. I didn’t want to stop listening so I could find out what was going to happen next.

I’ve read some reviews where people didn’t like one of the story lines, but I thought both were very good. The author did a great job of linking them together, and the narrators did a great job!

This was my first book by this author but I plan on reading more from her.

Some of the recipes in the book had “special” ingredients like rose petals etc., but I decided to make the  Tuna Casserole. My mom made this when I was growing up and I made it when my kids were growing up, but we used noodles too. We never used potato chips.

Chapter 24
Nellie

July 30, 1956

Tuna Casserole
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 cup milk
2- 7 oz. cans tuna, drained
3 hard cooked eggs, sliced
2 cups cooked peas
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 cup crushed potato chips

In a casserole dish blend mushroom soup and milk
Stir in tuna, sliced eggs, cooked peas, salt, & pepper
Bake at 350 for 25 minutes
Top with potato chips and bake 5 minutes longer

Foodies Read

Audiobook 

Weekend Cooking

 Posted by at 6:34 AM
Jan 242020
 

Instant Pot White Beans with Smoked Sausage
(I moved the sausage out of the way so you could see everything else better)

2 tsp olive oil
1 lb smoked sausage cut into 1/2 inch disks, pork or turkey
1 small onion finely chopped
2 carrots diced
2 celery stalks diced
4 cups chicken broth (low-sodium), warmed
1 lb dried small white beans rinsed and picked over, like navy beans
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme OR 1 tbsp Cajun seasoning

Add olive oil to the Instant Pot. Using the display panel select the SAUTE function.
When oil gets hot, brown the cut sausage on both sides. Transfer browned meat to a shallow dish and cover loosely with foil.
Add onion, carrots and celery to the pot and saute until onion is soft, 3-4 minutes.
Add broth to the pot and deglaze by using a wooden spoon to scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pot.
Put the sausage back into the pot, add sorted and rinsed beans and stir to combine.
Turn the pot off by selecting CANCEL, then secure the lid, making sure the vent is closed.
Using the display panel select the MANUAL function*. Use the +/-keys and program the Instant Pot for 60 minutes.
When the time is up, let the pressure naturally release for 15 minutes, then quick-release the remaining pressure.
Serve hot, alongside fresh cornbread (optional).

Thoughts
This was quick and easy meal to make. I left the celery out because I didn’t have any and I used Cajun seasoning because I love it and anyway I didn’t have any fresh thyme.

My son doesn’t like his food very spicy so I thought using 1 tbsp of Cajun seasoning might be a little too much for him but decided to give it a try. When I asked him if he liked it he said it was a bit spicy but really good.

My favorite thing about making this recipe in the Instant Pot was that I didn’t have to boil the beans and let them sit for an hour or so. Just pick, rinse, and add to the IP. So easy! So good!

Weekend Cooking

Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

 Posted by at 7:11 PM
Dec 062019
 

Slow Cooker Chicken Breast Dinner

1 pound boneless skinless chicken strips
4-6 red potatoes washed and cut into wedges
1 pound fresh or frozen green beans
1 small can sliced mushrooms (optional)
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1 packet chicken gravy mix
1 cup water (or chicken broth)
2 tablespoons melted butter (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
Spray, butter or oil your crock pot insert.
Combine the water/broth, melted butter and seasoning packet and Italian seasoning. Set aside.

Layer chicken, potatoes, green beans and then the mushrooms.
Pour liquid mixture over the top.
Cover and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours. Or on high for 3 1/2 to 4 hours.
Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Freezer Meal Directions:
Place chicken strips, green beans and mushrooms in a large freezer bag.

Mix the broth and seasonings as in step #2 above. Pour over chicken mixture.
Make a note on your label (and maybe your calendar) that you’ll need the potatoes to make this recipe.
Lay flat, squeeze out as much air as possible, label and freeze for up to 6 weeks.

To Cook:
Defrost the chicken mixture overnight in the refrigerator. Wash and cut the potatoes and lay in the bottom on the slow cooker. Pour chicken mixture over the top. Cook as per step #5 above.

Thoughts:
I used boneless skinless chicken tenderloins, a small bag of Honey Gold Potatoes, and carrots instead of the mushrooms, and green beans. I didn’t add salt and pepper until my food was plated. I really liked the flavor, and the chicken was extremely tender.

I will make this again.

Weekend Cooking

 Posted by at 10:42 PM
Sep 142019
 

Slow Cooker Root Beer Pulled Chicken
Serves 6

1/2 cup Root Beer
1/2 cup Ketchup
1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
2 tablespoons Prepared Yellow Mustard
1 tablespoon Brown Sugar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1/8 teaspoon Ground Ginger
2 pounds Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts cut into 2 – 3 inch cubes

In a medium mixing bowl mix together all of the ingredients except for the chicken until well combined to create the sauce

Add the cut up chicken to a gallon zippered storage bag

Pour the sauce over the chicken in the storage bag and gently massage the chicken into the sauce & zip the bag closed

Allow the chicken to marinate overnight in the refrigerator

Pour the ingredients into a 6 – 7 quart slow cooker

Cover and cook on LOW for 4 to 6 hours

Serve on buns or rolls (gluten-free if you are on a GF diet) as sandwiches

You can click on the link to the recipe for how to freeze/cook this

Thoughts
This is so quick and easy to get ready for the fridge, and tastes really good. The only things I did different was that I used Costco Rotisserie Chicken Breast Meat instead of chicken breasts which made it much easier than cutting the chicken into cubes. I also used my 8 qt. slow cooker instead of a 6 – 7 qt.

I also didn’t  serve on buns, I ate a scoop of it on a plate and ate it with a baked potato.

It was very good but since the flavor wasn’t quite as bold as I like, when I make it again I’ll double the sauce ingredients. The recipe says it makes 6 servings but for us it was a lot more than that. The two of us ate it twice and there was still enough for another two meals. The next time I’ll put half in a separate baggie and put it in the freezer to make later, and I plan on using the Slow Cooker program on my Instant Pot.

Weekend Cooking

Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

 Posted by at 4:29 AM
Aug 312019
 

I found this recipe at The Blond Cook 

So, I finally used my Instant Pot and I LOVE IT! So easy and quick. It only took 25 min. to cook once it came up to pressure.

1 pound dry baby lima beans
4 cups cubed, chopped or shredded fully cooked ham
1–1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
1 tablespoon freshly minced garlic
3 cups chicken broth
4 cups water
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
Optional: fresh chopped parsley, for garnish

Rinse and sort beans in a colander, removing and discarding any debris

Place beans and remaining ingredients (except parsley) in the insert of your Instant Pot and stir well to combine

Place the lid on and lock, steam release knob should be set on “sealing”

Cook on manual setting (high pressure) for 25 minutes

Allow the pressure to naturally release for 10 minutes, then quick release remaining pressure

Carefully remove lid and stir

Remove and discard bay leaf.

Garnish with fresh chopped parsley, if desired.

Thoughts
I didn’t follow the instructions 100%. I used chicken bone broth instead of chicken broth and didn’t use the bay leave (I forgot about it even though I stopped at the store specifically to get some), and didn’t use the parsley.

I had baked a ham a few days before so I used the ham bone and cut up a bunch of ham to go in it.

The beans were SO GOOD! Next time I’ll double the recipe because we only got 3 big bowls from them and we like eating them more than one day.

It was easy to store the leftovers in the inner pot that comes with the IP, and I used an Instant Pot Silicone Lid. I love this lid, it’s thick and is a really tight fit.

I’ll definitely be making this recipe again!

Now I need to figure out what to make next!

Weekend Cooking

Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

 Posted by at 7:16 AM
Jul 072018
 

Sorry I don’t have a photo to share. I took one but it was too dark and it was late and we were starving so I didn’t take any more. You can click the link below to check out some great photos

Doritos Chicken Casserole

1 bag (10 oz) Doritos Cool Ranch flavored tortilla chips, coarsely crushed (about 6 cups)

1/4 cup butter, melted

2 cups shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese (8 oz)

1 jar (15 oz) four cheese Alfredo pasta sauce

1 tablespoon Old El Paso original taco seasoning mix (from 1-oz package)

3 cups shredded cooked chicken

1 can (14.5 oz) Muir Glen organic fire roasted diced tomatoes, undrained

Heat oven to 350°F
Spray 13×9-inch (3-quart) baking dish with cooking spray
In large bowl, toss Doritos and melted butter until well coated
Sprinkle 4 cups of the Doritos evenly in bottom of casserole
Top with 1/2 cup of the cheese
In large bowl, stir pasta sauce and taco seasoning mix until well blended
Add chicken, tomatoes and 1/2 cup of the cheese; stir until well mixed
Spoon evenly over Doritos in baking dish.
Bake uncovered 30 minutes
Sprinkle with remaining Doritos and remaining 1 cup cheese
Bake about 5 minutes longer or until hot and cheese is melted

 

I used frozen pulled chicken and couldn’t find that brand of fire roasted tomatoes so I bought a different brand. Other than that I followed the recipe.

This was really quick and easy to make and we loved it! My son even got seconds, so that told me he really liked it. I’ll definitely make this again but I think I’ll make it with ground beef,  more taco seasoning,  and nacho cheese Doritos and see how we like it that way. Either way, I’m adding this recipe to my dinner rotation.

wkendcookingWeekend Cooking is hosted @ Beth Fish Reads

 Posted by at 3:26 PM
Jun 232018
 

Easy Chicken & Yellow Rice
I found this at allrecipes

5 1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon chicken bouillon granules
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 green bell pepper, diced (optional)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 (16 ounce) package yellow rice
1 pinch ground black pepper
1 pinch poultry seasoning, or to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F

Bring water and chicken bouillon to a boil in a large skillet

Add chicken breasts and bell pepper; simmer over medium heat until chicken is no longer pink in the center, about 20 minutes

Remove chicken and pour remaining broth into a 9×13-inch baking dish

Stir rice, plus the included seasoning packet, and olive oil into broth

Arrange chicken breast over rice and season with black pepper and poultry seasoning

Bake in the preheated oven until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 45 minutes

Fluff rice with a fork before serving

Thoughts
When my kids were growing up I made chicken & yellow rice all the time using leg quarters (I removed the skin, bones, and yuck before adding it to the yellow rice) and it tasted amazing.  I stopped eating it when I started eating boneless skinless chicken breasts years ago. The other day out of the blue I got a craving for it so I decided to find a recipe for that used boneless skinless chicken breast and was quick and easy. I wasn’t sure how it would taste without the skin, bones & fat but thought I’d give it a try.

I didn’t use bell pepper but other than that I followed the recipe. We both thought the chicken was too dry but the flavor was good & the yellow rice tasted really good. We had leftovers so the next night I shredded the chicken and put it and the rice in a saucepan. Then I brought a cup of water  to boil and  added 1/2 tablespoon chicken bouillon granules, stirred well and poured it in the saucepan with the chicken & rice and heated it. This time it was a big hit! So, the next time I make it I’ll use shredded chicken instead of breasts and make it on the stove.

wkendcookingWeekend Cooking is hosted @ Beth Fish Reads

 Posted by at 3:30 PM
Jun 162018
 

Pizza has always been my favorite food, for as far back as I can remember. Then about 2 years ago I started not liking the taste of the sauce and/or crust, depending on where the pizza was from. Now the only pizza I really like is CiCi’s  which is 45 min. away.

The other day when I was at Publix I saw some  Mama Mary’s Pizza crusts hanging on an end cap and decided to try them. There were 3 in each pack, 7″ original crusts. I didn’t see any thin crusts which is what I prefer but next time I’ll try to find them. I bought some Boar’s Head Turkey Pepperoni & Ragu Pizza Sauce to top it with. I had some Provolone cheese that I’d bought a few days before in the deli and decided to use it. I had planned on making it one night when my son Anthony wanted pizza, but last night I was on my own for supper so I decided to make one of them.

Brush with olive oil

Spread on pizza sauce

add pepperoni (I like a lot)

and cheese (don’t care if it’s not pretty)

Preheat oven to 450°

Turn oven down to 425°

Bake for 8-10 minutes on pizza pan or oven rack

I baked my pizza on the rack in a toaster oven for 8 min. So did I like it? That would be a big yes. The crust was crispy and golden brown just the way I like it. The sauce had a good flavor, not too spicy or acidic, and of course the provolone added a very nice taste and brought back good memories (I grew up in Ohio where they use Provolone on pizza). Next time I’ll try the thin crust though, less carbs 🙂

YUM!

 

wkendcookingWeekend Cooking is hosted @ Beth Fish Reads

 Posted by at 1:50 PM
Jun 092018
 

Jack’d Up Smoked Meatloaf @ Hey Grill Hey

Servings: 6 people

2 pounds ground beef
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 medium red onion grated
2 cloves garlic minced
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 Tablespoons Jack Daniels whiskey
1 Tablespooon homemade steak rub (recipe  below) or favorite steak rub
1/4 cup milk
6 oz pepper jack cheese cut into strips

For the sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup Jack Daniels whiskey
1 Tablespoon homemade steak rub (recipe  below)
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes

Homemade Steak Rub
2 tbsp fresh cracked black pepper
2 tbsp kosher salt
2 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsbp crushed coriander seeds (not ground)
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
2 tsp cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and stir well to combine
Press into steaks or use as desired
Store unused rub in an airtight container for several weeks

Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees F for indirect smoking. This meatloaf is awesome with hickory or oak wood.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, bread crumbs, red onion, garlic, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, Jack Daniels, and milk.

Mix gently with your hands until just combined. Don’t overwork the meat or your meatloaf will be tough and chewy, just gently mix.

Spread half of your meatloaf mixture on the bottom of a grill basket.

Layer on the pepper jack cheese, leaving about an inch of meatloaf on all sides.

Top with the remaining meatloaf mixture and press the edges together to seal completely. Any exposed holes and the cheese will leak out while cooking.

In a small bowl. combine the ingredients for the sauce and then pour over the top of the meatloaf, letting it run down the sides a little bit.

Place the meatloaf on the smoker, close the lid, and smoke for 4 hours or until the internal temperature reads 165 degrees F.

Let the meatloaf rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving.

Thoughts
My son found this recipe and said he wanted to try it. I was skeptical because he does NOT like hamburgers or anything with cheese melted inside, or spicy food.

I didn’t follow the recipe 100%. I used less garlic and baked it (350° for an hour) instead of smoking it.

I couldn’t find ground corriander so I had to buy the seeds and crush them myself. And since I don’t drink I got the whiskey from my daughter & son in law who love JD.

The meatloaf turned out really good. I thought it was really spicy but my son loved it. He also didn’t mind the cheese melted inside, so it was a big hit. Since there are only two of us I think if I make it again I’ll half the recipe.

If you like meatloaf and wouldn’t mind it a bit spicy, you should try this.

 

 

wkendcookingWeekend Cooking is hosted @ Beth Fish Reads

 Posted by at 2:06 PM
May 052018
 

When my kids were little I used to make Johnny Marzetti and they loved it. I haven’t made it in years . The other day my son Anthony said he’d like me to make it again, so I did. I used a different recipe, one that calls for baking it. My old recipe didn’t have you bake it.

Johnny Marzzetti
1 lb. elbow macaroni
1 tablespon olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 green pepper
8 ounces mushrooms, chopped
2 lb. ground beef
salt and pepper to taste
2- 14 oz. cans tomato sauce
1- 14 oz. can dived tomatoes, drained
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. Italian herbs
Pinch of sugar
2 cups Cheddar cheese
2 cups Italian Blend cheese

Preheat oven to 350°
Bring a large pot of water to boil
Add maccaroni and boil for 7 min. or until almost al dente
Drain pasta and return to the pot, set aside
Heat olive oil in a large skittle over medium heat
Add the onion, bell pepper and saute until soft, about 5 min.
Add the meat and cook unil no longer pink
Drain off fat & season with spices
Simmer for five min., stirring occasionally
Pour the meat in with the noodles, mix well
Add 1 cup of each of the cheese & mix well
Pour mixture into a 13×9 in. casserole dish
Top with remaining cheese
Bake for 30 min. or until cheese is golden brown & melted

Adaptions:
Didn’t use the olive oil, green pepper, mushrooms.
Used ground chuck instead of ground beef
Used 1 can of tomato sauce
Used 1 can of diced & 1 can of stewed tomatoes-didn’t drain
Used 1/4 tsp. garlic poweder instead of 2 cloves

I didn’t follow the directions either. I browned the ground chuck with the onions, drained it and added the spices, then added it to the macaroni, added the cheeses, poured it into the dish and topped with remaining cheese.

I thought this was really really good, but my son said he liked my original recipe more. I plan on eating some more tonight and since there’s just me and my son I’ll be freezing the rest for later. Next time I make Johnny Marzetti I’ll cut the recipe in half.

 

 

wkendcookingWeekend Cooking is hosted @ Beth Fish Reads

 Posted by at 1:30 PM