Quick Cucumber Salad

cucsaladI wish I had all day to experiment in the kitchen, but that is one luxury I do not have.

Between my “real” job, the groups/charities I volunteer my time to, my family, my dogs and the few other things I get to do in my free time, I rarely get as much time to create new recipes as I’d like.

Today was another one of those days.  You know, the kind with business meetings, tasks on the ever-growing to-do list, a trip to the hair salon, and a few other unexpected things, so I knew dinner time would be rushed as well.

This morning I put 2 frozen chicken breasts in a Rubbermaid container with some of my favorite marinade (Ponte’ Winery Scallion Oil Marinade/Dressing) with hopes that they’d defrost in time and then surveyed the refrigerator for what I’d be able to serve with them.

oxoI really am trying to cut back on the carbs, fat and extra calories in our diets, so a cold salad I could marinate all day would be just the right choice!  Plus, I’d get to use my new kitchen tool: my OXO slicer/grater.

Quick Cucumber Salad

  • 1 English Cucumber
  • 2 Roma Tomatoes
  • 1/2 Small Yellow Onion
  • 1/3 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 TBLS Olive Oil
  • 6 Large Leaves Fresh Basil
  • Freshly Ground Pepper
  1. Using either a very sharp knife or a Mandolin slicer (I use the OXO Complete Grate & Slicer Set), thinly slice the cucumber, the tomatoes and the onion and combine in a gallon sized zip bag.
  2. Stack the basil leaves and roll like a cigar and then thinly slice into narrow strips.  Add the basil to the zip bag.
  3. Add pepper, vinegar, and olive oil to the zip bag.
  4. Seal the bag and shake the contents vigorously.
  5. Open the zip bag then push the air out and reseal.
  6. Place the salad in the refrigerator until time to serve.
  7. Before serving, open the zip bag again to allow air to enter, then reseal and shake the salad to mix before place on plates to serve.

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Pot Roast That’s Truly Drool Worthy

potroast2My Mom made an ok pot roast, but it was never a meal I looked forward to or asked her to make.  In fact, if I called home and heard pot roast was for dinner I’d stay at school late for a Del Taco run with the Walnut High School Cayuse Yearbook crew.

She’d grab a 7 bone (blade cut) roast at the grocery store, heat some vegetable oil in a skillet, coat each side of the meat in flour, salt & pepper, then brown it over high heat. After that she’d fill the pan up about halfway with water, reduce the heat to medium-ish, put the lid on and let it braise for about 2 hours.  When it came time to serve it there would be boxed mashed potatoes (my Mom didn’t do peel/boil/mash), and peas or corn.  My Dad used to smother it in ketchup.  Not sure what that said about her pot roast, but in my eyes, if you’re hiding the meat under ketchup it’s a waste of the 2 hours she took to cook it.

huntsI never want to see a meal I have taken the time and effort to prepare covered in ketchup (unless it’s meat loaf or a hamburger…), so I’ve changed Mom’s prep a bit and come up with a pot roast that doesn’t make my husband suggest we eat out instead.

Drool Worthy Pot Roast

  • 3 to 3 1/2 pounds Boneless Chuck Roast (Because they will trim the excessive fat, I prefer to get it from the butcher case instead of grabbing a pre-packaged roast from the meat aisle)
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes (Tonight I used Hunt’s)
  • 6 Carrots peeled, and cut in half
  • 8-10 Small Red or White Potatoes
  • 1 large Onion, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 2 TBLS Olive Oil
  • 3 Bay Leaves
  • Any Garlic/Onion Spice Blend you prefer (I used Dangold Gourmet Collection Garlic & Onion Spice Blend)
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Cup Beef Broth
  • 1 TBLS Corn Starch dissolved in cold water (about 3 TBLS)
  • 3/4 Cup Bold Red Wine (Like a dark blend or Zinfandel – tonight I used Gnarly Head Authentic Black)
  • 3 TBLS Vanilla Extract
  • 2 TBLS Worcestershire Sauce
  • 3-4 TBLS Prepared Horseradish
  1. Set the pressure cooker to the Brown setting.
  2. Add the Olive Oil and brown the Roast for about 5 minutes per side.
  3. Remove the meat to a large bowl.
  4. Add the onions and cook until translucent (about 5 minutes).
  5. Add the Beef Broth, Vanilla, Wine, Worcestershire Sauce, Tomatoes, and the dry seasonings to the pressure cooker pan and stir until the mixture starts to bubble.
  6. Add the Bay Leaf and Carrots to the pan.
  7. Return the Roast and all of the juices to the pan.
  8. Spread the Horseradish on the exposed side of the Roast.
  9. Close the pressure cooker, lock and set to the highest setting (248° on mine)
  10. Once the pressure cooker reaches the cooking temperature, cook for 1 hour.
  11. When cooking is complete unplug the pressure cooker and allow it to come back to normal pressure (about 10 minutes).
  12. Open the pressure cooker, remove the Roast, Carrots, Potatoes, and Bay leaves.
  13. Turn the pressure cooker back on to the Brown setting.
  14. Stir in the corn starch mixture until it begins to boil and thicken.
  15. Cut the Roast into chunks and serve in a bowl with the carrots and potatoes (smash them with a fork) covered in the gravy.  If you have some French bread to dip in the sauce, serve that too!

I potroast3didn’t have any potatoes on hand, so we ate ours with some steamed Brussels Sprouts and a can of Bush’s Bourbon and Brown Sugar Grillin’ Beans.  The roast came out tender, moist and flavorful and my husband really enjoyed sopping up the gravy/sauce with the chunks of French bread!

Are you on Facebook?  You might be interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: recipes, food facts, nutritional information, photos and other things that make my mouth water. I may not write a blog post every day, but there are daily updates to my This Girl Loves To Eat community at: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

 

 

The Fridge Isn’t the Best Place to Keep Bacon

This article comes courtesy of Business Insider .

My motto is, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”  Well, that and, “If the Baby/Puppy/Parent (lol) is sleeping, DON’T WAKE IT!” Rebecca Harrington of Tech Insider got this one exactly right, so enjoy this great little piece on how to preserve that delicacy which makes just about everyone (sorry to those who don’t eat swine) happy, bacon!

baconrollsI’ve always stored bacon in the fridge. It’s what my mom and dad did.

But by the time I get to the end of the package, that bacon isn’t very fresh anymore.

Turns out there’s a better way.

America’s Test Kitchen chef and food science expert Dan Souza told Tech Insider that the freezer is actually a better place to keep bacon.

“It can help it last longer without going rancid,” Souza says.

Rancidity is what happens when fats start to break down, giving foods an unpleasant taste or smell.

That’s why the freezer is a great place for all kinds of fatty foods, Souza says, from butter to chicken stock.

“It’s dark and cold in there,” he told Tech Insider. “So it slows down rancidity, which is a problem with really fatty things.”

To keep your glorious bacon from going rancid before you can eat it all, it’s best to stick it in the freezer.

But if you freeze it as one big chunk, you’ll never be able to tear a single slice off. Souza says to roll it up and bag it so it doesn’t get stuck together.

Read the original article on Tech Insider. Copyright 2016.

Are you on Facebook?  You might be interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: recipes, food facts, nutritional information, photos and other things that make my mouth water. I may not write a blog post every day, but there are daily updates to my This Girl Loves To Eat community at: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

You Can’t Hate On This

I’ve spent the past 5 days traveling cross country and back for a college graduation.  I loved the trip, but hated the flight schedule and one of the airlines in particular (I’m talking about you Allegiant Air).  How in the world does an airline have a plane that departs a 24 hour city (Las Vegas) at 6 AM filled with seats that don’t recline?? MAJOR FAIL!  The cost of a one way flight from Las Vegas to Oklahoma City was great ($103 each with the stupid $15 carry on bag fee, $6.59 credit card processing fee, and the various taxes and fees) but the lack of reclining seats for a 3 hour flight is a deal breaker!

Having finally gotten back late Monday afternoon, with a cough, sore throat and ears that ached, all I wanted was a fuss free meal, some cough medicine, and to sleep in my own bed.

Thinking back to when you were a kid, what meal resulted in no complaints ever?

If you were me, that complaint free plate featured a perfectly crisped grilled cheese sandwich.  If my Mom wanted to make me really happy she’d serve it alongside a bowl of Campbell’s Tomato Soup she’d doctored up with milk, butter and freshly popped popcorn floating in it.

That’s my idea of heaven!

Knowing the schedule of the flights I’d booked, the likelihood of tornado delays (big thanks to Jim Cantore at The Weather Channel), and that I would be eating huge meals & drinking a lot of wine over the weekend,  I had prepped my kitchen ahead of our trip with the essentials.

My perfect grilled cheese

  • Thick Cut Sourdough Bread – My first choice is Francisco Sourdough
  • Butter – ONLY real butter, no margarine or anything else
  • Cheese – If I am in a hurry it can only be Kraft American Singles, but if I have the luxury of time, I like to slice thick chunks off of a block of Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  1. Preheat a skillet over medium heat on your stove
  2. Butter one side each, of two pieces of sourdough bread
  3. Place first piece, butter side down, into the pan
  4. Layer either the American or Sharp Cheddar cheese (don’t skimp) on the piece in the pan
  5. Place the second piece of bread, butter side up, on top of the cheese
  6. Cook until you no longer see bubbles around the edges of the bread and a quick peek verifies that you have a crispy, well browned, bottom piece
  7. Using a spatula, flip the sandwich over onto the uncooked side and cook as directed in step 6
  8. Once cooking is complete slide the sandwich out of the pan and onto a plate.
  9. Slice down the middle and enjoy the gooey goodness.

Yeah, that (and a glass of ice cold milk) makes this girl happy!

Are you on Facebook?  You might be interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: recipes, food facts, nutritional information, photos and other things that make my mouth water. I may not write a blog post every day, but there are daily updates to my This Girl Loves To Eat community at: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood