We welcomed fall in last weekend, and we are settling into our new routine now that the kids have been back to school for a little while. With that I am back to writing as well. I expect that Foodie Friday will stay as it has, and my other day may vary a bit with downtime. When I started I was off on Tuesday, and that seemed to work well for a balanced week. Now I am off on Wednesday, which seems a bit bunched up with Friday. So we will see.
Some highlights from Summer!
Glad to be back and can’t wait to explore new things with you!
Growing up, Mom made something she would call Skillet Supper. Usually it was a way to use up leftovers, or maybe just throw something together really quick with shelf stable ingredients. I find myself questioning now, what makes something a skillet supper? When I started this job we would have a Saute of the Day in the employee dining room and the buffet. In a lot of ways those were similar to the things we had growing up. Maybe it would have some pasta or some rice. Maybe some veggies or some sauce. Maybe it would have some beans or maybe the beans were what got thrown in so it would have some sauce. If you look at them from the point of view that Skillet Supper is something done to use up leftovers and a saute basically got prepped as needed and is a coherent mix of things that could be chosen from it starts sounding like a capsule wardrobe…. And that doesn’t sound appetizing. Obviously I need more sleep before I try writing these things.
Anyway, if you have a fairly standard set of things you wind up with for leftovers, and you keep some basic foods in the pantry, you have a wide array of options for your next Skillet Supper…. And if it was standard-ish on what you had you could maybe have a base set of sautes you could schedule into your meal plan rather than the way I learned to do Skillet Suppers with a hope and a prayer that they would turn out yummy.
If you have been on my Instagram for very long you probably realize that I do this a fair bit with odds and ends I got from marked down produce. Mom would often throw chili beans or baked beans in the pan with some rice…. Maybe mushrooms if my brother was gone that night. Back then I was a vegetarian, so I honestly don’t know if they ever had meat in them, and if she added that it was at the end(after mine was pulled out). My guess is that she started with beans and rice so that there was a complete protein and then didn’t worry about meat.
What the kids and I have done the last few years that would fit this concept of a formula of ingredients would be Meat and Greens. The meat we start with might be pepperoni, or salami, or pork chops (I am making this for the first time this year tonight with chicken, previously we would often use pepperoni, but it also has pork and wouldn’t be in our normal choices now). Julienne some onion, and toss that in. I used to also use butter with the meat and onions as well. Tonight I am using rendered chicken fat. Throw in some cut up root veggies. Carrots, turnips, potatoes, sweet potatoes are all good. After that stuff is all heated up and most of the way cooked through you toss the stems of your greens in, and then a minute or two later (or whenever you get them cut down) you add the strips of kale, collards, turnip greens, swiss chard, or whatever other greens you have on hand to the pan and let them get wilted down. Salt/Pepper as desired and serve.
The other night I didn’t have the kids and I made one that was a take on my Buttery Ranch Brussel Sprouts that I had been working on as an alternative to the Bacon and Brussels recipe that got my kids to finally eat Brussel sprouts that weren’t coated in some sort of yellow sludge out of a box. I did the Brussel sprouts the way I had been, but then tossed in mushrooms and onions to go with it. This did change the flavor quite a bit, but that very well may have been because I used way more mushrooms than I probably should have.
You might notice a trend that I don’t really have the rice, beans, or pasta in there like my Mom did. Over the years I have occasionally made things that could fall in the Skillet Supper category with these ingredients, and my kids just really don’t care for them. Now maybe I should have listened to them sooner, but we are eating a lot less rice these days, and pasta pretty much went away with the gluten free thing. We will still have the occasional bit of pasta with spaghetti sauce, but since it just isn’t the same and for the last few years I hadn’t been able to find a GF spaghetti I liked, we went with Penne pasta and the little spirally one whose name I don’t remember. I don’t know if this was because of the urging from so many doctors to go paleo, or if we just quit fixing that type of stuff, and maybe it was both. Either way, I know that I feel better the less I eat grains…. processed or not. I still do, but if I can pair meat and veg and be satisfied, that is usually our best bet. And if I am just feeding me I will often just take one thing and cook it somehow, and eat that.
Wishing you the best of luck in your hope and pray supper experiments,
Strawberries spend most of June in season where I am, and straggle to some degree on ever-bearing plants for a while longer. Growing up at our house strawberry shortcake was a special treat every summer. What I have found out since I had kids of my own is that it is a tradition that goes back at least 3 generations (or 4 depending how you count).
When my Grandma was growing up it was a meal her family had when they were picking the berries from the garden. I wish I had that many plants. She continued it with her kids, and Mom continued the tradition as well even though we bought the berries from one of the fruit stands along the road. And despite protests from their dad’s side of the family, I do the same with my kids.
Mom always seemed to have some recipes that she didn’t have to look up. Since she passed we have tracked some down. She always used to tell me — “it is just a basic biscuit recipe, just throw in a few Tablespoons of sugar.” As I’ve told you before I am not the best cook in the world, and obviously don’t have it memorized, so I thought I would share.
2 cups flour
2 T. sugar
1T. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1/3 cup fat
2/3 cup liquid (milk)
Set oven at 450 degrees F. Sift flour once. Measure. Add salt and baking powder; stir well and sift together. Cut fat into dry ingredients until it is the size of rice kernels. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, add milk and stir vigorously with wooden spoon until blended or until dough follows the spoon. Lightly flour countertop using about 1 T. flour. Form dough into a ball and knead lightly with fingertips about 10-15 times. Roll to about ½ inch in thickness. Dip cutter into flour. Cut and place on unoiled baking sheet. Bake until golden brown (about 12 to 15 minutes). Full recipe makes 16 to 18 small biscuits.
— Today I made a few modifications as I am now gluten free. I used a mix of brown and white rice flour (literally as I found stashes of flours I tossed the contents of the bags in my bucket and stirred, so it might also have some other flours, but I will work on standardizing in the future). I also substituted honey for the sugar, added an egg, and then had to add about a quarter cup of flour. They came out a decent texture, but a bit dryer than I really like.
In our world strawberry shortcake is a full meal, complete with lots of fresh berries (cut up and add a little sugar to draw the juice out), shortcake, vanilla ice cream, and milk or berry juice over the top of the whole bowl. It has all of the wonderful taste to match the best meals in the world, and the textures always amaze me as it all just sort of melts in your mouth. Hmmmm, I might just have to try this with peaches when they are in season too…..
1 can chili beans (mild or hot will work, check to make sure they are gluten free if needed)
garlic to taste
Start by browning the ground beef in a large skillet. Season with Salt and Pepper if desired.
Drain excess fat from pan and add the whole can of chili beans, liquid and all, and the corn. Stir.
Now that it is mixed up, season with the garlic (this might take more than you think, so check it a couple times as it seems to change as it heats up and melds together. Also depends on how much flavor your beans have). The liquid from the chili beans adds the rest of the flavor.
Heat through and serve.
Cost per serving: $1.86
We used to eat this with garlic bread back when I could have such things. These days the kids will sometimes eat with bread and butter, but normally it is just on its own. Over the years I have started adding a second can of corn and beans to stretch this meal as my kiddos have gotten bigger and we needed more to make a complete meal and no one complains about a lack of meat in the dish.
Can’t do much to beat a quick, simple, and hearty meal with your family.
Last Friday I told you guys that I had joined a pantry challenge. I managed to only grab a gallon of milk mid-week, but I do have a few things I have to grab before I pick the kiddos up. Most of them are requests from the kids.
Orange juice-they were fighting colds for whatever reason last time they were home, and prefer juice to Vitamin C tabs
Pudding- chocolate, vanilla, and lemon…. we already have vanilla, so I will grab the other two
Honey Bunches of Oats (this will only happen if it is on sale, they have raisin bran, and he will make quesadillas which will work out cheaper)
I use vinegar as my principle cleaning agent, so this is actually more for laundry and cleaning than cooking. Mash was requested by my girl child, apparently she doesn’t remember having it a couple weeks ago when she requested it last time, so I need potatoes for that. At the store I am going to they mark down produce on Tuesdays and Fridays, so I will see what I can find to add some fresh veggies to the plan for the week. Cheese and tortillas are on the list every time. Mainly because my son is going to turn into a quesadilla any moment. He will have a couple for breakfast before walking out the door (even though he could have cereal or any number of other things at school), and then turn around and want that for both after school snack and as a bedtime snack if he isn’t digging into the ice cream.
In case you didn’t know, I think pretty much any mother can tell you that you don’t go into a store hungry. Or with kids if you can help it. I do break that last one because after a few years of monthly grocery shops without kids I realized my kids hadn’t actually been in a store in over a year. But I still only take them occasionally. My goal for today is to make it in and out for less than $25. This is somewhat arbitrary, but in order to not have to play whack-a-mole with my budget, that is the goal. I also try to see how fast I can get in and out because the longer you are in, generally the more you spend. So I just fixed myself what I am calling Leftover Saute to get my belly full, and then I will head out.
1 leftover turnip (diced, but I also took the little sprouting tops off and added those)
2 spiralized carrots- cores were eaten for breakfast this morning, and sprials saved in a bowl of water
2 small kale leaves- fresh from the garden… is it leftover considering the kale was leftover from last year?
4ish garlic leaves? stalks? it was the soft tops, not scapes, and not the cloves….
4 spearmint leaves- also picked from the garden today…. the rest of the bunch will probably be dried and used in my morning smoothies
I cut up the chicken into the skillet, put the skin in the toaster oven for 5ish minutes, and then cut the onion and turnip. I did add a pinch of Pink Himalayan salt, and chicken fat leftover from cooking chicken thighs… I honestly don’t know if this is schmaltz…. which I understand to be rendered chicken fat, but that is what I have been calling it for ease of labelling. I used to use bacon grease in these type applications, but am avoiding pork these days. Anyway, once those were all melding well I tossed in the lightly squeezed out carrot spirals, and went to pick the stuff from the garden. It just didn’t have enough color. I did cut those into strips and tossed them in, and basically just let it get good and wilted. Top with the chicken skin. Then nom, nom, nom….. why do I automatically see pacman when I use that term?