Friday, March 30, 2012

French Toast (The Ballplayers Favorite way)

I have to say that The Ballplayer is reaping the benefits of being the last child at home. He is getting benefits that my kids never got when there were four living at home (yes at one time there were four) and yet none of the older kids are giving him a hard time for it. I would have. I do however try to make sure to spoil The Tortured Teenager when she comes home from college. Making sure she gets her favorite foods prepared. But still, She never had me making french toast before she went off to school in the morning. As I recall I even complained about having to make lunches. (there were so many of them back then) But now there is only one at home and it seems so....easy. Like he is an only child. So I don't mind the occasional (which is becoming a habit) french toast.

I have to admit that this is kinda a big deal me putting this on the blog. I have told the kids that my French Toast is sorta a secret recipe. So I guess the secret is now out.

French Toast (The Ballplayers Favorite way)

This is enough french toast for my family on Sunday morning to have to thick slices for four people

8 pieces Texas Toast or Italian Bread
3 Eggs
1 cup of milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon sugar (like what you put on toast)

I mix the eggs in a pie pan. Some mornings it is a cake pan. The work great. Add the vanilla to the eggs and milk
Add the cinnamon sugar. I make up a huge batch and keep in a old Tupperware cup with a lid. I don't measure the vanilla or the cinnamon.
Mix up well with a fork
Take a cookie sheet and toss into an oven set on warm. This is just to keep the french toast warm if you plan on eating as a family. Some mornings I skip this and just dish them up as they are ready
I told you that the stove and oven were a Dino
I found some Texas Toast that was labeled California Toast. This made The Fireman happy. Like it really mattered.
Really it is just thick egg bread
Take a stick of butter and grease your griddle
Dip the bread in the egg on both sides
Then onto a griddle that was preheated to Medium high heat.
Cook it slow so the inside cooks but the outside it nice and golden
I can barely eat on of these. I cant imagine how The Ballplayer eats THREE
When both sides are brown transfer to the oven tray and keep cooking

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sundried Tomato Pasta

I have covered this dish before...but it's so pretty and so yummy and when I made it I couldn't help but take a picture which I might add is prettier than the last one I took. But anyways, I am rambling. I tend to make this when I am feeling shall we say, blue. It is one of my comfort foods. I am probably the only person in the house that will eat it. So I definitely need a pasta buddy. I am a pasta junky. You can throw some pine nuts and olives on any pasta and I can call it a meal pretty much. Oh there is plenty more in this dish but you get the idea.

I take 2 cloves of garlic minced
about 2 tb sundried tomatoes in olive oil with the oil (thats what the garlic cooks in) cut up
about 6 Greek olives cut into small pieces
2 tb parmasan cheese grated
1/4-1/2 cup pine nuts toasted

ok sorry I didnt take pictures. But all the pictures are HERE from last time

take a dry pan and put your pine nuts in it and turn the heat on med high. Keep and eye on them, moving them around. When they are done, move to a bowl

Start boiling water and pasta

In a pan or sauce pan heat up the sun dried tomatoes with the oil. You should have about 1 TB of the packed oil that came with the tomatoes. Add the garlic and the olives, once the garlic is cooked take the pan off the heat. No need to burn the garlic.

Add the cooked pasta to the pan that has the sun dried tomato mixture, toss, add cheese and top with the pine nuts. Those nuts are gold in my book.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Short Cut Chili Colorado with Homemade Pinto Beans on Homemade Parmesan Corn Bread with Pickled Onions

Just saying the title of tonight's dinner is a mouthful. Say it five times really fast. Come on. You can do it. Just for fun. Now just about everything tonight we have covered here on my blog for exception of the pickled onions which I beg you, I double beg you not to leave out. It makes the dish. No really. I was pretty much scooping them out of the mason jar and into my bowl. The onions after the marinated were so mild that I couldn't stop eating them on my dinner. The pretty picture you see at the top of the page is not how I eat. So If I can get you to take the fifteen minutes to marinate these onions, please do it. This is definitely a Sunday meal. But really, the meat cooks in the crock pot and there is no work there. The beans cook on the stove pretty unwatched for a couple hours. So in a couple hours, dinner is done. The smell is like the best house perfume you can have in the winter. The Bread will bring any teen to the table. My kids love corn bread. Straight up, with honey, butter or topped with beans. They are in heaven. This meal was a hit.

Short Cut Chili Colorado with Homemade Pinto Beans on Homemade Parmesan Corn Bread with Pickled Onions

First lets get the beans on the stove. It takes the least amount of effort and you can let them simmer unattended for hours. When they are done you can turn them off and reheat them later.

Take 1lb of pinto beans (washed and picked of rocks)
2 strips of bacon
1/4 diced onion (red or white or yellow)

Make sure you wash and look for debris and rocks
you need two strips of bacon
I don't cut the bacon now, but will later if it doesn't fall apart. Some brands will crumble and some I have to cut.
you only need about 1/4 of the onion
cover the beans with about 2 inches of water. My Gram taught me to go to my second knuckle. I don't measure the water I just stick my finger in and it always ends up being the perfect amount of water. Bring to a boil and then simmer on low for a good two hours or until the water just about reduces to half and the bean is soft

These have cooked for about one hour and are half way doneWhen the beans are soft take the bacon out and chop it up
Add the bacon back to the pot. Now you could smash them and have refried beans but we like how the sauce soaks into the corn bread.
So Lets make the Meat. Which basically you start with the beans or before the beans. This is so easy is should be a crime in cooking. Slice up the other half of the onion from the beans.

Season the meat with some pepper. No salt. The sauce is high in sodium. You just do not need it. Place a TB or two in a HOT pan on high and place meat in the pan and sear it brown on all sides
You want it brown. Browning it seals in the flavor and makes it taste good
Place the onions on the bottom of the pan and the meat on top. Or reverse it. It wont matter. It's all going to be swimming in red sauce soon.
Take a small can of red enchilada sauce and cover meat. Cover and cook on slow for 6 hours or high for 3-4 or until the meat pulls apart with a fork.

Pickled Onions
Do this the last 15-30 minutes before you are going to eat
take 1/2 onion sliced (or a whole if you are going to hog them like I did)
In a small sauce pan
1/4 c rice vinegar (any vinegar will do but that's what I have)
2 Tb sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Heat up, stiring over low until the sugar and salt are melted
cram your onions into a mason jar. I just happen to have a ton of these handy since I happen to think I am a canner
cover the onions with the hot vinegar, refrigerate. I say do it 30 minutes before but really its best if you do it two hours before so they get cold and crisp but either way they were amazing. I know. I ate them how in the brine.
ok now lets start on the Parmesan Corn Bread. We've made this on the blog a million times. but just in case you missed it...
2 ½ cups Bisquick baking mix
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 ½ cups milk
1 cup of Parmesan cheese grated (please use the fresh and not the stuff in the green can)
1 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees . Place a cast iron pan in the oven. Mine is a 10 inch. Leave it in the oven for 15 minutes while you mix up the ingredients.

Place butter in micro save bowl. Which means for me that it is safe for me to over melt the butter and get all over the micro and then have The Fireman complain that nobody cleans it. True story
I was careful today
Get all your dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Dry ingredients are ready
Add the butter and then add the milk and egg. Sometimes I melt the butter earlier in the day and mix them all together. But my butter was hot and I didn't want scrambled eggs in my corn bread so I added the butter to the dry first then the rest of the wet. Now I am just rambling. It happens
This is the best part. My kids didnt know there was cheese in our corn bread for the longest time. Grate about a cup. Sometimes its more, sometimes less. Its heaven everytime.
Mix right into the cornbread batter
Take the cast iron pan out of the hot pre heated oven and put one TB of butter in the pan an melt it all around the pan
Get it everywhere. This is going to make such a nice crust. Its amazing
Put the batter in. You can hear it sizzling.
Bake 50 minutes.
I always take a stick of butter and run it over the top just a little. It its so yummy
I needed a little afternoon snack while waiting for dinner
Nobody will notice? Right?
So our meat is done. We just need to shred with two forks

All shredded. I left any fat in the pan. You can skim it with a spoon and The Fireman may but once you spoon it up it will soak into that cornbread and beans and it will be divine

place corn bread in a large shallow bowl
cover the corn bread with beans
cover the beans with cheese
toss the avocado with some lime, salt and pepper
top with avocado, cheese and those glorious pickled onions
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