Rice, It’s What’s For Dinner!

O.K, I know this looks like a box of Rice-a-Roni, but I promise, it’s completely home made….well, mostly, anyway.

I found this recipe on a blog I recently stumbled upon.  The title started with the word “simple.”  “Simple” and “cooking” are two words that I really like to hear side by side.  So, I gave it a try.

The thing with me and cooking is that I usually have to make substitutions because I often find that I don’t have all the ingredients a recipe calls for.  This recipe was no different.  So, if you want the complete, unabridged recipe, you can check out the other blog’s post, but here’s what I did, and it turned out yummy!

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
¼ cup onion, diced
½ cup orzo pasta
1 cup rice
2 ¼ cup chicken broth

Heat butter and oil on medium heat until butter is melted, then add garlic powder, onion, orzo and rice. Sauté until the orzo turns a nice golden brown, then add the chicken broth. Bring the whole thing to a boil, cover, turn the heat to low and cook for 20 minutes. Be sure to keep the pot covered while cooking. After 20 minutes, remove from heat, leave pot covered, and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste, fluff and serve.

That’s it! So simple, so yummy! And way better for you than the box kind!  And, yes, that picture really is my dinner plate. 🙂


Did Somebody Say Banana Bread?

Peanut Butter Banana Bread

O.K., so maybe nobody said it, but how many of you were thinking about it?  Hmm?  Anybody?  Somebody?

Well, even if you weren’t thinking about it, I was, ’cause I just had some, and it was SO yummy!

Some of you may already know that I’m not big on cooking, baking, dish-washing…basically, anything to do with food besides eating it! But when the occasion calls for it, I’ll do it.  Hey, the family has to eat, right?

This particular occasion is special, though.

Once a month, hubby and I join up with a group of friends to cook breakfast for the families staying at the local Ronald McDonald House, and one person always brings something yummy and fresh-baked.  This month, that person couldn’t make it.  I don’t know, maybe with everything that’s been going on this week, I was feeling soft and warm-hearted…anyway, I volunteered to make the goodies this week.

What was I thinking!?

I dug through my recipes and found one that I thought would do, and, while I was making it, thinking about how delicious it was going to taste, I started thinking about you, dear reader, and how much you might like it, too.  So I’m going to share the recipe.  It’s not my own…I got it from a friend who, I’m pretty sure, got it from a cooking magazine.  Anyway, here’s the recipe.

Peanut Butter Banana Bread

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Directions – preheat oven 350’

In a small bowl, stir the topping ingredients together until crumbly; set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter , cream cheese, and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in bananas and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon; stir into creamed mixture just until moistened.
Divide half of the batter between two greased 8 x 4 inch loaf pans; sprinkle with half of the topping. Top with chocolate chips. Repeat layers of batter and topping.

Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

Spreading the second layer of batter over the chocolate chips

In the oven for 45 minutes

Finished! Hey! NomMon, get out of there!

Sorry, don’t mind NomMon, he’s always trying to get his teeth into yummy things.  Just kidding…but he sure is fun to cook with!

So, it’s an hour before dinner and I just had a piece of banana bread.  Bad, I know, but I had to try it out and make sure it tasted good, right?  If you try the recipe, leave a comment and tell me how it turned out.

What’s Fah Suppah?

Courtesy of ...me! HMDDesigns

I really can spell…well usually.

“What’s fah suppah?” is my tribute to being a resident of Maine.  I actually know people who talk just like that.  They don’t “park the car,” they “pahk the cah,” eat “lobstah,” and will tell you, “ya cn’t git thayah from heaah.”

Anyway, enough about Maine vernacular…

I was making dinner the other night and realized that eating and cooking are things that all of us have to do at some point during the day…just another part of every day life…and that got me thinking it might be fun to do a food related post from time to time.

But before I do that, I have to share another embarrassing truth about myself….I don’t like to cook.

Fortunately for my family, I like to take care of them, and since they have to eat, I DO cook.  I’m not fantastic at it, but I guess I’m alright.  They don’t complain…much.

Yesterday we were supposed to have boiled ham with beans and mashed potatoes.  I don’t mind making that meal.  First off, Mr. EiRL loves ham, and secondly…it’s easy!  We usually buy a small smoked shoulder, and, at about noontime, I put it in a big pot filled with water, bring it to a nice simmer, and then leave it bubbling gently on low all afternoon.  Come dinnertime that ham is falling off the bone…so yummy!  And just about anybody can open up a couple of cans of beans and cook a few potatoes….although the first time I ever tried to make mashed potatoes I burned ’em.  Let the water just boil away…not good.

That was what we were supposed to have…except that my stove is over 20 years old and is begging me to let it die.  Mr. EiRL insists that it’s got a few more years left in it.  He keeps tweaking this, re-wiring that…

To make a long story short…I got the ham bubbling nicely, turned it to medium low, and walked away for a couple of hours only to find that the ham was not simmering at all.  The ring had shut off completely…and with dinnertime only an hour away…no ham for us. 😦

Thankfully I had a batch of spaghetti sauce in the freezer left over from last week.  We had pasta for dinner while I finished cooking the ham…which was finally ready come bedtime.

So, I’ve got a box full of ham to use for dinner tonight.  I could just reheat it and still make beans and potatoes, but I started wondering…

What do you do with left-over ham?  Any suggestions?  I’d love for you to share…

P.S.  I already know about making those little ham sandwiches that are served in finger rolls at EVERY social gathering in North America…

Confessions of a Less-than-excellent Wife

O.K., so when I left off yesterday I said that I was hoping to give my husband a “cheerful heart,” a cup of coffee, and maybe some dinner when he got home.  Fail.  I had the coffee brewed, and was definitely in a peaceful mood, but by the time he walked in the door, I was zonked out on the couch, sound asleep, without a hint of dinner on the way.  Oh well…there’s always another day, right?  I’m pretty sure dear hubby wasn’t put out by my “failure” though.  As long as he’s got that welcome home cup’a joe, he’s a happy as a clam! 🙂

When I opened up my bible to Proverbs 31 this morning, the thing that jumped out at me was how the excellent wife was so great at shopping and cooking for her family.  Check it out:

She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar.  She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens.  Proverbs 31:14-15

I have a confession to make.  I don’t enjoy cooking.  Never have.  Ask my family.  I CAN cook (except for steak…I can’t cook that to save my life!), I just don’t enjoy cooking.  My motive for cooking is, number 1, my family needs to be fed, and number 2, I like to eat.  So this whole “providing food for her household” thing is clearly something I could benefit from learning to do with a more cheerful heart.  That being said, I decided to get a little audience participation.

I’m going to share a recipe with you today, one of the handful of recipes that my family loves and I can actually make pretty well.  In return, I’m asking each of you who end up reading this post to share a meal recipe with me.  You can either post it in the comments area to share with all of us, or e-mail it to me at HMDDesigns@maine.rr.com and I’ll share it with everyone in a separate post.  Either way, I’m committed to trying each recipe that you send to me.  I’m hoping we’ll all have a little fun together trying something new.  And if you end up trying one of the recipes yourself, let me know how it came out.  Ready?  Here’s my recipe, which, by the way, we’re having tonight:

Enchilada Casserole

1 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped green pepper

2 tablespoons butter

1 pound cooked ground pork (you can use chicken or turkey as well. Diced finely works O.K., too, but I prefer ground)

1 4-ounce can diced green chili peppers

3 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon ground coriander

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 cups chicken broth

1 cup sour cream

1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (6 ounces)

12 6-inch tortillas

Preheat oven to 350’F.  In a large saucepan cook onion and green pepper in the 2 tablespoons butter till tender.  Combine onion mixture in a bowl with cooked meat and green chili peppers; set aside.

For sauce, in the same saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons butter.  Stir in flour, coriander, and salt.  Stir in chicken broth all at once; cook and stir till thickened and bubbly.  Cook and stir 1 to 2 minutes more.  Remove from heat; stir in sour cream and 1/2 cup of the cheese.  Stir 1/2 cup of the sauce into the meat mixture.  Dip each tortilla into remaining sauce to soften; fill each with about 1/4 cup of the meat mixture.  Roll up.  Arrange rolls in a 9×13-inch casserole dish; pour remaining sauce over top.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Bake, uncovered, for about 25 minutes or till bubbly.

Happy cooking!