Saturday, April 2, 2011

fernie foodie fri(sat)day

do you have any idea the amount of dedication and intelligence it takes to meal plan?  if this was a subject in university i'd have a phd! yeah doctor dinner is served!  speaking of which...what happened to home economics?  do they even teach that in school anymore?  i'm thirty two years old, and i just learned how to create a household budget!  what is wrong with that statement?  i took home economics, economics, business, finance, and a host of 'electives' and no where a long the way did anyone ever mention personal spending analysis or household budget...that is messed up! wheeeeew...okay on to my week in the kitchen. on monday i was down to the bare minimum in the pantry..ya'll know the feeling? i ended up making a mushroom beef casserole and house salad.

you guys know the routine...get it all out.  look at this photo, i'm working with the scraps here!in the bowl is frozen spinach.
we did have some ground beef in the freezer, so the dish ended up having a bit of umph after it was all said and done.  nesta wandered into the kitchen, early into the preparation, so i put him to work...home economics 101.
next i prepped my veggies and shredded the cheese, i was going for a really cheesy casserole, but i think i made too much pasta, because it didn't have cheese oozing from it like i'd hoped for.  that's a beaten egg in the glass jar, i also wanted my casserole to stick together...hence the egg...i don't know what happened? it was pretty much just pasta in a casserole dish
i started the pasta after my meat had browned and i added the vegetables to it.

dan had purchased some flavoured cream cheese last week, so i thought...hmmm? roasted red peppers? sure!

popped it in the oven, made the salad and...dinner is served. see? phd material...and i'm still a believer in minimalism with food waste, so even though i didn't have enough veggie scraps for stock, i zip-loc it 'till i do.
by tuesday night i still hadn't gone to the grocery store, although i asked everyone i saw that day what they were making for dinner.  my friend ally said " it's ten dollar tuesday at the pizza shoppe!" i told her about my new job and then i said " we're trying to save money, so i don't want to spend even ten dollars on pizza" when she left that day she handed me twenty bucks and said "here let me buy you dinner order a couple of pizzas" you can imagine my refusal! still i ended up with that twenty in my pocket and she would not take it back.  so thanks ally, but you should know i didn't buy pizza.  i bought flour, pizza sauce, mozzarella and yeast.  i had planned on bringing her a homemade pizza, but they didn't last long, so i'll have to do that another time. i asked my friend carrie what she was making and she promptly replied "steak" i thought....good idea. simple.

i still had a bit of produce kickin' around, so i stopped by 'backcountry meats' on my way home and picked up a couple of cheap cuts, roasted a squash in maple syrup , cinnamon and cranberries, and made a broccoli salad.  all for $11.67

i like to the tone there? SMOTHER! my steak in crushed garlic and salt & pepper.
the salad was composed of broccoli, swiss chard,cucumber, carrot, yellow pepper, onion, raisins and a creamy balsamic dressing

now don't forget about ally.  that woman is so ya ally!  but really i just couldn't use that twenty dollars to order in, my conscious physically wouldn't allow me to pick up the phone, so instead i used it to buy ingredients to make four pizzas that i could freeze for days like tuesday when i have no idea what to make for supper.(also with the intent of bringing one to ally...that didn't happen!) i know some of you are waiting for this recipe...sorry i haven't gotten around to emailing you yet. get out your pen and paper, 'cause i'm gonna blog it...yup blog it!
two and a quarter cups flour, two teaspoons quick rise yeast, a quarter teaspoon salt, one table spoon caster sugar.  don't worry i didn't know what caster sugar was either...turns out it's super fine graulated sugar. now don't go spending all your hard earned money on sugar...just put some sugar in your blender and bam! instant caster sugar. store in a glass jar.
mix dry ingredients and add one cup of warm water. knead for ten minutes until smooth

place in oiled bowl, covered in a warm spot and let rise 15 minutes
i forgot to take a picture of the risen dough, but i quadrupled the recipe so it was HUGE!punch down, knead another five minutes, roll out and place on ungreased pizza pan.  top with your favourite pizza toppings. this recipe is for one pizza dough. here's the photo journal of the rest of my little pizza dough making frenzy!

by the time  i was done, i didn't feel like topping them, so i just threw them in the freezer like that, and the rest of the week we pulled them out for lunches and dinners.
after work on wednesday i went grocery shopping...finally! we're on a fairly tight budget, who am i kidding, my bidget is so tight it squeaks! so i'm in martha stewart everyday food magazine withdrawl ...on wednesday i relapsed.  i bought one.  i just love all the recipes and i especially love the weekly meal planner with a shopping list! hello? genius! but...what i've come to realize is that i HATE cooking from recipes.  my mum use to say "don't say HATE tanya, it's such a harsh word" well works here okay?
let's try this...spicy potatoes and peas with chicken
first chop, and parboil the spuds, then set aside...i saved the water for my peas...h20 conservation always ladies and gents!
brown the chicken and boil the peas

after both sides of chicken are browned, throw it in the four hundred degree oven and roast. (important to use oven safe skillet)
while chicken is roasting prepare seasoning. thats's cumin, corriander, cayenne, salt and pepper, onions, garlic, fresh lemon juice, and parsley. 
once chicken is roasted, remove from pan, in pan juices fry potatoes, seasoning and peas...NOTE: DO NOT GRAB HANDLE OF PAN WITHOUT OVEN MIT...don't say i didn't warm you...ahem.. thanks for nothing martha!

and remember the veggie scraps i saved at the beginning of the week? i pulled 'em from the fridge,  added the chicken bones...and voila... more stock...chicken stock.

next up thursday night...another martha inspired evening. cajun meatballs, couscous and roasted carrots. editors note: roasted carrots rule! sweeter than you can handle!
this recipe uses the same spice mixture as the chicken, so that saves a step because you've already made extra. plus cilantro, cinnamon, and an egg.

cut up the carrots , toss 'em in a bit of olive oil and roast 'em in a three hundred and fifty degree oven for twenty minutes.
ask your two year old to help out...and be prepared for a few mishaped meatballs...that's okay!

when the hubby gets home, get him to lend a hand...
couscous is the easiest...tone again...EASIEST side dish on the face of the planet! just add hot water.  but...being my mother's daughter, i had to add onions and garlic. those are scallions.

 martha's recipe for this particular couscous called for toasted almonds...dan's allergic to almonds, but i happened to have some, becasue i put sprouted almonds in my smoothies in the mornings. so i tried toasting sprouted almonds...not such a fantastic idea, i think they were just too moist to be toasted

so that was my week in the kitchen...i've decided that i'm not going to post fernie foodie friday every week (sorry hannah) i think if i'm inspired to share a meal or two on this blog, i will, but seeing how it's saturday and i'm relieved to have finished this post i'll take that as a sign.  i do however, have to share a little extra footage that i found on my camera...i think dan secretly LOVES my blog.  i didn't make these cookies...hint hint;)