Back to work

Tomorrow I’m officially back from maternity leave working full time. I’ve weened the baby so I’ve started up my weight watchers plan again. To help out with all these changes, I have planned out meals for the entire week as well as a shipping list and prep cooking for tomorrow.  We shall see how the week goes.

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It’s a scribbled sort of organizing.

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Back to work

Tomorrow I’m officially back from maternity leave working full time. I’ve weened the baby so I’ve started up my weight watchers plan again. To help out with all these changes, I have planned out meals for the entire week as well as a shipping list and prep cooking for tomorrow.  We shall see how the week goes.

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It’s a scribbled sort of organizing.

Long time no see, and just in time for Fall.

Well things have shifted majorly in my world. I realize its been over a year since my last update. Since then I have gotten a new job, moved, got pregnant, had a beautiful baby girl, and after a very brief maternity leave (if you want to call it that), I am back working part time from home.

10710790_10152422381540888_4426890037188315255_nWhile this cutie pie is napping I have sometime to start dinner, and post.

During my pregnancy, I didn’t have any of those “crazy pregnancy cravings” you hear so much about.  Chalk it up to my enjoyment of most foods, or what have you, I found myself eating the same foods as usual, when I wanted to eat.  That was the problem.  I was exhausted most of the time, still working 40 + hours a week, to cook food.  On top of that, nothing really sounded good.  I ate a lot of cheeseburgers, macaroni and cheese, and there were many a night of bread/cheese/meat plates.  It was summer after all, and we had just moved to a second story apartment with no A/C.  I was NOT going to be turning on the oven any time soon.  None of this made for good writing material in my opinion.  I have a food blog dedicated to celebrating food, not whining about how my condition makes things sound yucky.

Getting to the point, its now autumn, my favorite time of year.  I have had weeks of doing nothing but child rearing and watching the food network, and I’ve been itching to get back in the kitchen.  I’ve been warming up the past couple weeks starting off with roasted root veggies and chicken, some soups, and baking cornbread.

Tonight’s dinner started early.  Pot Roast!  Pot Roast is one of those meals that immediately brings me back to holiday dinners at my grandmother’s, and while I make my pot roast differently than she did, the end result is that same comforting meaty hug.  Remember, pot roast takes some time to cook if you want that truly fall apart, melt in your mouth, tenderness, so give yourself time.

I’m starting off with a 2lb chuck roast.  There are only two of us eating, and this will stretch from dinner tonight to lunches tomorrow (pot roast is the one leftover my husband gobbles up).  If you are serving 4 or more and want some leftovers, choose a 4+ lb roast.  I should also mention, this can be done with a Brisket as well, but you will need to alter the cooking time.  I am allowing 3 hours per pound of meat.  I don’t use a meat thermometer with pot roast to tell if its done.  I simply stick a fork in it and try to pull some meat off.  If it comes off easy, its done, plus I get to sneak a taste before dinner.  😀

You can cook a pot roast on its own, but I like to add some starchy veggies to cook in with the meat and soak up all that beefy goodness as they roast together.  You can use, turnips, potatoes, corn, parsnips, carrots, whatever you fancy.  Since its fall, I have been into the seasonal root veggies.  I found some Parsnips and Rainbow Carrots at the produce market, so that’s what I am using along side two smallish yellow onions, and the half empty container of baby bella mushrooms I found in the back of my refrigerator (oops).

I started this process by chopping the parsnips and carrots into 1 inch pieces, and quartering the onions.  In a pan I heated up about 3 Tbsp of Olive oil and 1 tbsp of butter.  I browned all of my veggies with some salt and pepper first, just to get some color, and added them to my cooking vessel (dutch oven, deep casserole dish, roasting pan, whatever you are using).

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Then I seasoned (generous sprinkle of salt and pepper) and browned the meat on both sides creating a crust that will keep everything nice and juicy.

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This took about 4 or 5 minutes on each side, medium high heat.

I set this bad boy on top of my veggies, and poured in 1/3 of a cup of chicken stock into the sizzling hot pan to pull up all the yummy brown bits that stuck to the bottom, and then poured it all over the meat and veggies. You can substitute the Chicken stock for beef, veggie, a nice dark beer, or even water.

I added 1 can of diced tomatoes, a few dashes of Worcester Sauce, a few dashes of red wine vinegar, and enough chicken stock to come up about half way on the meat (about 2 cups).

This is going to cook at 275 until done.  Like I said, about 3 hours/lb, so mine will cook about 6 hours.

The finished product!  Now time to eat.

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Pot Roast Dinner for Two

2 Medium Yellow Onions

2 Parsnips

4 Rainbow Carrots

Any amount of Baby Bella Mushrooms (I used about 1 cup)

3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Tbsp Unsalted Butter

2 Lb Chuck Roast

1 14.5 oz Can Diced Tomatoes

2 1/3 cups Low Sodium Chicken Stock

1 Tbsp Worcester Sauce

1 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar

Salt and Pepper to taste

With Winter upon us..

It has been ridiculously cold here in Portland.  Record breaking low temperatures have forced us to stay off the roads as much as possible for the past few days so we have been spending a lot of time watching movies (we just got Mary Poppins on BluRay!) and playing video games (Assassins Creed Black Flag is AWESOME).  It has also made me crave hearty hot food. Stick to your ribs, hibernation food. So that’s what I have been making.  Monday night was a hybrid of Beer Onion Soup and Beef and Barley Stew.  Yesterday was Stewed Cabbage and Chicken Tacos, and tonight’s dinner was Spaghetti Squash with a Spicy Shrimp and Cod Tomato Sauce.

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Ingredients:

1 Medium Spaghetti Squash

1 Medium Onion Diced

4 Cloves of Garlic Minced

1/2 inch of Ginger Grated

1 tsp Red Pepper Flake

1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper

2 Cups Beet Greens

1 Cup Crimini Mushrooms Sliced

1 14.5 OZ can of Fired Roasted Mushrooms

1 8 OZ can of Tomato Sauce

1 Cup of Chicken Stock

1 Tsp Lemon Zest

2 Tsp Lemon Juice

1/2 LB 26/30 Raw Shrimp

1 LB Pacific Cod Fillet

1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar

1 Tbsp Italian Seasoning

1 Tsp Dried Basil

Salt and Pepper to taste

What to do:

Bake the Spaghetti Squash at 375 for 40 minutes or until you can easily shred it with a fork.

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Place it in a bowl and toss with a little olive oil and salt and set aside.  I used Garlic Olive Oil, and I could have eaten a bowl of it just like that.

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Sautee Onions in a little Olive Oil with the Red Pepper Flakes until the onions become translucent.

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Add the Minced Garlic and Grated Ginger and stir until you can smell it.

Add the Fire Roasted Tomato, Italian Seasoning and Dried Basil and allow the flavors to meld at a low simmer for 4 or 5 minutes.

Next, add the Mushrooms, Beet Greens, Tomato Sauce, Lemon Zest and Balsamic Vinegar, Cayenne Pepper, and Chicken Stock and stir well to combine.

Allow the sauce to simmer for 10 – 15 minutes.

Add the Cod first as it takes longer to cook.

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Allow the Cod to cook for 3-4 minutes before adding the Shrimp.

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Add the Shrimp and let simmer for 5 – 7 minutes, or until the Shrimp are cooked through.

Top the Spaghetti Squash with your sauce, feel free to add some Grated Parmesan Cheese and ENJOY!