My Kitchen View: Freezing & Marinade

I recently spent a few hours putting some meals in the freezer. It’s not generally my style – you may have noticed that there really aren’t many casserole recipes here. However, I like the concept of easy, go-to meals and despite my general lack of excitement about casseroles, I decided I could make it work. So, many of the meals were meat in marinade which means all I need to do is thaw and grill. My kind of summer meal!

The meal round up (my sister helped and we made 26 meals in a matter of a few hours!) included burgers (ground turkey & beef combined), meatballs, taco meat, pizza kits (dough, sauce, browned meat & onions, and cheese frozen together), sweet and sour chicken, pork roasts in marinade, BBQ drumsticks, marinated chicken and pork. So far, we have really enjoyed everything. I plan to do this a few times a year to make life a little easier on the days I work or for when I just need a break from cooking. It’s really makes meals pretty easy – I just add a salad or steamed vegetables and fruit or bread to make a complete meal. 

First, you need to start with fresh meat. DO NOT thaw and re-freeze meat. Add the desired portion into a freezer bag or container and pour in marinade. Clearly label the package and include the date. Place in freezer until ready to use. I try to remember and stick the meat I want for a meal in the refrigerator the day before we are going to eat it.  

Here is a marinade recipe that made a lot – I was able to use it on about 5 or 6 packages of meat (good thing we liked it! :)). I used it on pork chops and chicken breasts. We’ve tried it on the pork and it was wonderful! We sauteed some baby bella mushrooms in butter and topped the pork chops with them for serving. Delicious!

MARINADE (adapted slightly from from allrecipes.com)
Print This Recipe

1 1/2 c. canola oil
3/4 c. soy sauce
1/2 c. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 c. red wine vinegar
1/3 c. lemon juice
2 Tb. dry mustard
1 tsp. salt
1 Tb. black pepper
1 1/2 tsp. finely minced fresh parsley (or 1 tsp. dried parsley)

In a medium bowl, mix together oil, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, wine vinegar, and lemon juice. Stir in mustard powder, salt, pepper, and parsley. Use to marinate meat before cooking as desired.
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My Kitchen View

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted generally about the food things going on in my kitchen and beyond. I hosted Easter Dinner (well, it was more brunch-like) for 13 yesterday and it gave me a great excuse to develop a couple of cupcake recipes – carrot with a cream cheese filling baked in them and cream cheese frosting and lemon with a lemon curd filling and raspberry cream frosting. I was pleased overall with both and will share the recipes soon!

Otherswise, here was the menu:
-Ham (a traditional food for every holiday on my dad’s side of the family)
-Bacon, Spinach, Mushroom, & Swiss frittatas
-Sausage, Pepper, Onion, & Cheddar frittatas
Kazakh Cheese Pastries
-Strawberry Spinach salad w/Candied Pecans & Creamy Balsamic Dressing
-Asparagus & Tomato Salad
-Fruit Salad
-Challah Bread (my mom made this!)

My boys helped to make these cute Rice Krispie Treat nests as favors. I packaged them with tags and ribbon so they also doubled as place cards. They were so easy and the kids were so proud to tell our guests about making them.

 

In March, Heather and I visited a lovely tea room in Irvington. We enjoyed their special monthly tea event. Is was quaint, the staff was friendly, and the food was delicious. We hardly knew where to start on our two tiers of tea delicacies with several different types of sandwiches, gorgeous scones, and delightful sweets.

My family visited Cinncinnati a few weeks ago and found a place featured on Diners, Drive-ins, & Dives (Food Network). Terry’s Turf was a hole-in-the-wall burger place with tons of character! We went at 5 on a Saturday and had to wait for about 30-45 minutes for a seat – by the time we left, I’m certain the wait was much longer. If your party doesn’t fill the table, you will likely be seated with strangers – with five of us, we filled our spot. 🙂 Peanuts shells littered the floor and added to the ambience – my boys loved it! The burgers are huge but absolutely delicious and the Black Currant elixir (house made) added to fresh lemonade was fabulous! Terry, himself, came out and brought our boys mini candy burgers and chatted with my husband and me. He was jovial, humble, and kind. We all agreed, we would definitely go back!

It’s been a busy couple of months with some great eating experiences. We continue to expand the palates of our sons and discovered quite recently that they all LOVE sushi. A fun (though pricey :)) discovery. We enjoy foodie adventures as a family – both in our kitchen and out! What’s been happening in your foodie world – any great new recipes, dining experiences, new obsessions etc.? I’d love to hear them!

My Kitchen View

Well, I’m typing this from my sick bed…not very festive or holiday-ish. 🙂 I’m on the mend, though and looking forward to these final couple of weeks before Christmas. My children eagerly open their Chocolate Advent Calendars and can’t wait until it’s actually the day!

Our kitchen has been full of good smells and goodie trays overflowing with confections. We hosted our annual Christmas Open House this past weekend. A chance for us to welcome in our family and friends for an evening of visiting and food. Always a highlight for me. It was a surprisingly calm day leading up to the festivities. Pictures and some recipes will come but for today, I’ll just share the menu.

Our Menu:
Antipasti Platter (Olives, Breadsticks, Tortellini, Marinated Mozzarella, and Salami)
Cheese Ball & Cheese Cubes w/crackers (Swiss, Pepper Jack, Co-Jack & Sharp Cheddar)
Vegetables & Dill Dip (Assorted Peppers, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, & Carrots)
BBQ Meatballs
Fruit (Pineapple, Oranges, & Blackberries)
Chex Mix

Our sweet treats included Raspberry Truffles, Peanut Butter Fudge, & Chocolate Fudge whose recipes will appearing this week! I made Layered Candy Bars, Chocolate Dipped Cherries, Peanut Cluster, Covered Pretzels, 3 kinds of fudge, and six different kinds of cookies. Can you tell I love to bake? It’s so fun for me.

I also hosted a bridal shower a couple of weeks ago. It was a brunch which is perhaps my favorite type of meal to host! We had egg casseroles, fruit, yogurt parfaits, muffins, scones, and cake. It was lovely celebrating the bride-to-be – a good friend of ours!

These pictures are courtesy of Heather – aren’t they beautiful?!

My Kitchen View

Thanksgiving has come and gone. Despite googling “”how to quickly thaw a turkey” and “how to cook a turkey from frozen,” it was a success. Note to self, check the turkey thawing daily to make sure it is truly thawing – three plus days was simply not enough for my 18 pound bird.

I should have taken lots of pictures of the different dishes, the table, and more, but alas, that didn’t happen. It was busy and exhausting and I didn’t want to hold up dinner. The dessert table held a couple of new recipes – Pear Frangipane Tart and Caramel-Cranberry Almond Tart. Both were pretty good though I think I actually liked the Apple Crumb Pie the best this year!

Caramel-Cranberry Almond Tart
Pear Frangipane Tart

Recently I was again reminded of how much I love the flexibility of my pizza dough when I made the cinnamon rolls below. It was a last minute, Saturday morning decision and we all enjoyed the sweet treat!


This month brings lots of baking which I thoroughly enjoy! We host a few different events which is good – so we can share all of the goodies. I’m planning to try some new candies and cookies as well as making some of our traditional favorites. I love the holiday season – Thanksgiving through New Years!

My Kitchen View

I’m getting back in the cooking groove. I had some apples starting to get a little soft, so I made a big batch of unsweetened applesauce and planned to freeze it but we’ve been eating it instead. It is probably one of my kids’ top favorite side dishes!

We recently enjoyed pasta with a homemade creamy tomato parmesan sauce.

I love apple season so we had Apple Crisp for Sunday dinner. Topped with vanilla ice cream, of course!

And I made a roast in the slow cooker cooke with apple cider.

My Kitchen View

I don’t feel like my kitchen has been very inspired of late. Oh well, I suppose it’s a season of life. Making fall recipes is high on my priority list but will have to wait until next week. Anyway, here’s a sweet treat I created a couple of weeks ago – Caramel Apple Sundaes. We loved these! It was vanilla ice cream, sauteed apples (with a little butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar), homemade warm caramel sauce, homemade crumble (oats, pecans, cinnamon, butter, brown sugar), and fresh whipped cream. Not particularly healthy and definitely a treat but delicious nontheless.

And that will have to do for today. 🙂

My Kitchen View

We enjoyed a wonderful weekend with my extended family. There is never a dull moment and there is an abundance of delicious food! Seriously. My family is full of talented cooks. So, we ate too much, spent lots of time outside, and watched our boys have the best time.

My cooking adventures of late included several new recipes for the weekend. I made my first apple recipe of the season. Yum. I will admit that as much as I enjoy the cooler, fall weather…I’m not a big fan of winter and since fall leads to winter, I’m feeling a little hesitant to bid summer farewell. But, the fall brings hearty soups, apple and pumpkin dishes, muffins, breads and more. Sigh. That part, I most definitely welcome.

Our little garden has struggled through and while we haven’t had as much produce as I would like, we are still enjoying delicious, gorgeous tomatoes, beautiful and plentiful basil, and some okra – which is continuing to grow on me.

 This weekend, I talked local restaurants with a couple of my cousins and my brother and sister-in-law. Evidently I must try Recess and it really looks wonderful! Naked Chopstix, Bazbeaux, and Brugge Brasserie where a few I mentioned – all of which I enjoy. All of these restaurants are in Broad Ripple – a happening, hip area.

Finally, I was debating what recipe to share today but I think it will be these very yummy muffins! They were not your normal banana muffins – they were packed with delicious-ness – granola, coconut, and walnuts. Ina Garten’s recipe is one I will definitely be making again. I think her idea of dicing some of the bananas and mashing the rest also added to the great texture. These are great as we head into fall. And I’m pretty sure you could use different fruits and change up this recipe.

BANANA MUFFINS
Print This Recipe

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 extra-large eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 bananas)
1 cup medium-diced ripe bananas (1 banana)
1 cup small-diced walnuts
1 cup granola
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
Granola, optional

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the melted butter and blend. Combine the eggs, milk, vanilla, and mashed bananas, and add them to the flour and butter mixture. Scrape the bowl and blend well. Don’t overmix.

Fold the diced bananas, walnuts, granola, and coconut into the batter. Spoon the batter into the paper liners, filling each 1 to the top. Top each muffin with granola, if desired. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool slightly, remove from the pan, and serve.

My Kitchen View

So, we have lots of tomatoes! And I’m thinking that I simply must make a tomato pie one of these days. I’ve never made one and never eaten one but I’m pretty sure I would love it. I also must make BLTs (Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato on buttered, toasted bread with real mayo) – they are a summer staple and one of my mom’s favorites! Do you have favorite tomato recipes?

Last night, we had vegetarian taco salad…so simple and filling. We really enjoy using black beans and cheese as the proteins over mixed greens with sour cream or plain yogurt, salsa, avacado, tomatoes, and tortilla chips. It was delicious and healthy. One of my personal goals lately has been to incoroporate more vegetarian meals into our diet. My family doesn’t mind eliminating meat for a few meals a week and I love the challenge of finding creative ways to enjoy meatless meals.

My latest, fun project was the cupcakes for my two-year-old son’s birthday. He chose them from a great book – Hello, Cupcake. The book has amazingly creative cupcakes that are do-able for the home baker. Last year I made circus cupcakes from the book – they were super cute but I’m happy to report that these were less time consuming and generally easier. 🙂 My little guy was thrilled with the results and I changed up the cupcakes to work with the time constraints and ingredients available. I did a cupcake display instead of 24 nearly identical cakes. I liked the result! Check out the book if you are a cupcake fan! The picture below is the main design – little fishbowls.

Don’t forget to enter the GIVEAWAY! It’s a super cool, fun, and inspiring cookbook!

My Kitchen View

This weekend we enjoyed the great outdoors! We camped at McCormick’s Creek State Park and thoroughly enjoyed it. We made the traditional hotdogs and s’mores of my childhood – no camping trip would be complete without them! We also had pies made in our pie irons. We made burrito pies – tortillas, refried beans, cheese, and salsa cooked over the fire and peach pies – buttered bread, peach pie filling, and a couple of marshmallows cooked. Delicious! I wish I had pictures but keeping three young boys safe around the fire and just getting dinner completed took quite a bit of effort. 🙂

On the cherry front, I must share that I invested in a cherry pitter and haven’t looked back. If you like cherries, go buy one…you will not regret it. It makes cherry dishes so much easier and we all enjoy eating them pit-free – it’s not only more polite but it’s less messy!

We’ve been enjoying things from our garden! Recently I made a garden-fresh pasta that included summer squash, basil and fresh tomatoes! We all loved the vegetables, parmesan garlic cream sauce, onion, and bacon over the sun-dried tomato pasta. It was a use-what-we have kind of night and it worked!

What’s been happening in your kitchens and gardens?

My Kitchen View

This past weekend, I had a chance to rediscover my love for cooking and baking. Life has been busy enough lately with many things and I have really missed just enjoying the kitchen. It was wonderful. I paged through my new magazines, planned a menu to serve my brother and his girlfriend for Sunday dinner, and then made three new recipes. They were successful, dinner was lovely, and I loved having some creative time in the kitchen!

Our garden is getting closer to having ripe produce and I can’t wait. The green tomatoes are just starting to turn red and yellow and the zuchinni is almost ready to harvest. I’ve been using a lot of basil from my plants and using some thyme as well.

We are looking forward to the Indianapolis Devour Downtown which is August 2-15! You can check out all the amazing restaurants that are participating – they have some delicious looking menus!

I’m going to give you a little preview of the August issue of Saveur and share this yummy Greek Salad. It was flavorful, fresh, colorful, and really tasty. I used less feta then the recipe suggested but put a little extra on the table to pass for those who wanted more. We really enjoyed this salad!


GREEK SALAD (Horiatiki) – Saveur, August 2010
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2 tbsp. roughly chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
2 medium vine-ripened tomatoes, cut into 1 1⁄2″ pieces  
1 small cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, and sliced crosswise into 1⁄4″ pieces
1⁄2 medium white onion, thinly sliced
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1⁄8 tsp. dried oregano, plus more
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 
6 oz. feta, cut into thick slabs
8 kalamata olives
Combine parsley, tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions in a bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, and oregano; season with salt and pepper and pour over cucumber mixture. Toss. Transfer salad to a serving bowl and top with feta and olives. Garnish with more oregano; season with pepper. Serves 2