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Archive for the ‘Cooking’ Category

 Pie’s Shepherd’s Pie

It is cold and I am pulling out all the stops when it comes to comfort food! Since it is March, why not embrace a bit of the ‘ol luck of the Irish roots I have along with making an easy one-pot meal with a few quick elements added to have a home-cooked value in an hour!    

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. In a large oven safe cook pot (dutch oven), brown ground beef with 1/2 diced onion and 2 cloves of diced garlic.  Add 1/2 tbsp of Kosher salt and 1/4 tbsp of black pepper.  Drain only 1/2 of the excess fat. This will help establish a nice rich gravy. 

.  Heat should be at a simmer: Add 16 oz of beef broth/stock, 1 can of cream of mushroom soup,  2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce 2 tbsp of butter and about half of the 1/4 cup of flour.  Stir constantly for about 1- 2  minute until flour is dissolved and  NOT forming dumplings.  It should thicken. 

Add 1-1/2 cups of the following frozen vegetables – corn, carrots, peas, green beans.  Keep at a simmer level so you will need to increase heat.   Once veggies are defrosted and warmed through (about 5 minutes) add additional flour.  Stir for about another 1-2 minutes.  The consistency should be thick enough it can support a standing spoon for at few seconds.   Turn down heat and cover.

Peel, dice and cook 8-10 potatoes. I normally just put them in a large glass brown and microwave them for about 15-20 minutes. Or you can boil the potatoes the traditional way.   Drain water from cooked potatoes, add 2 table spoons of butter, 1/2 tbsp of Kosher salt, 1/4 tbsp of pepper and 2 tsp of milk.  Mash to a semi-lumpy consistency. 

Fold in 1/2 cup of shredded cheese. 

Add 1 cup of shredded cheese to the thickened base

Spread potatoe mixture over the top of the melting cheese and place in the oven. Bake for 30-40 minutes at 400 degrees or until the potatoes start to brown and the cheese is melted and the gravy is bubbly. 

 

Ingredients:

1-1/2 lbs of ground beef

1/2 white onion

2 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon of Kosher salt

1/2 tablespoon of black pepper

16 oz of beef stock (can substitute chicken or vegetable stock)

2 teaspoons of Worcestershire Sauce (a little goes a long way, be careful not to over season with this)

1 can of cream of mushroom soup

4 tablespoons of butter

1/4 cup of flour (you may need more or less depending on how you get to your correct consistency)

1 cup of frozen corn

1 cup of frozen peas

1 cup of frozen green beans (I did find a  green been combination of green and yellow “green” beans)

1 cup of frozen carrots (I did find a frozen carrot combination of yellow and orange carrots)

8-10 medium potatoes, peeled, diced and boiled

1 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese

2 tablespoons milk

*Yields about  6-8  large and hearty servings

Time: 1 hour total time:  30 minutes of hands on time. 30 minutes of oven time.

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So I love cook!  OK,  I am in love with cooking.  Since this blog is an extension of me, I thought it would be a fun idea to add a post a week on a recipe of what I got cookin’ over here at Camp Pie Hole – hence the birth of Foodie Fridays. This is also a great venue to dust off the old camera and start embracing a little still life photography that does not cry, run or hide on me.   I hope that it brings you an appetite and a desire to get in the kitchen and reap the rewards of some good eatin’. 

First on the Foodie Friday’s Menu is an oldie but goodie re-created in the Pie Hole kitchen.  This is a recipe that warms the soul and brings back the kid in you and will be something that you can get your kids to eat. 

Pie Hole’s Frito Pie!

First pre-heat over at 375 degrees.

Combine ground meat, canned of drained beans, 1 cup of corn, 1/2 stuck of Velveeta cubed, canned diced tomatoes, 1/4 cup of salsa verde, 1/2 cup of olives sliced, 1 package of taco seasoning in bowl.

Spray casserole dish with cooking spray and spread a layer of Fritos, about half of the bag.

Pour the bowl of combined ingredients over the top of the layer of Fritos and spread out evenly.

Top the combined ingredients with the remaining Fritos.

Sprinkle 1/2 cup of mexican blend shredded cheese.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes and then remove cover and continue to bake for an additional 15 minutes or until cheese is slightly browned and Fritos are nice and crispy. 

Bon Appetite!

Ingredients:

1 bag of Frito Chips

1 lb of browned ground meat.

1 can of diced tomatoes

1 can of black beans

1/2 cup olives sliced

1 cup of frozen corn

1/4 cup of salsa verde

1 package of taco seasoning

1/2 cup of Mexican Shredded Cheese

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Well, as in my pervious blog, I had a little bit of concern that the car sickness may be upgraded to the horrid bug that is going around.  Tick-tock – bong, my initial diagnosis was wrong!  Now PD1 has just christened the porcelain  god for the first time of many in her life AND I just got a call from a friend that watched Pd2 yesterday that her rug rat is has been paid a visit by Linda Blair.   So now I am on “super mommy” duty or as the hubs says, ” earning your keep duty”. 

Sound the alarm, the house has been placed on “The House of Petri Dish” status.  Meals for all will consist of apple sauce, oatmeal, dry toast, eggs, broth frozen fruit pops and wine (for the adults in the house – the best coping Rx a person can find.)  I will be disinfecting everything that moves and stands like mad and the washing machine is getting a good work out.  I will let you know how I fair and if I can dodge the visit from Linda Blair myself. 

Now back to my duties.  . . where did I place my glass of wine kiddie pool on a stem?

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Yesterday I found out that the city of San Fransisco passed an ordinance that fast food chains could not include a toy in their kid’s meals if they do not meet certain nutritional requirements.  This was passed by an 8-3 vote and will go into effect in 2011. I truly live in a state that is a few french fries short of a full Happy Meal!

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”  Former President Ronald Regan. 

Regardless if you like his politics or not, that quote makes  sence.  Why is the government infringing on the rights of a private company in doing business?  Essentially they are taking away the freedom of not only the company to offer goods to the consumer, but the rights away from the citizens of San Fransisco or any American that visits that city.  I like to use Happy Meals as a special treat to PD1 and I have a right to be able to exercise my right as a FREE American to do so. 

Happy Meals are not something that should be demonized as “bad”.  They are not bad, they are fun and exciting for kids and parents.  If we start demonizing the Happy Meal to the problems of childhood obesity, then you are opening a huge can of worms on a lot of products that are out there.  If you think the “food police” that is trying to birth “Food Law” will stop here, you are only kidding yourself.  I like junk food from time to time, I do not want anyone telling me when, how or what I can have.  Some would probably say that is the Libertarian in me, I say it is the American in me coming out.

 It is not the McDonald’s of  America that is making our kids fat.  I feel it is a  cumulation of  five things that are making these kids fat, which all points back to parent/guardian responsibility for their kids.   

1).  Parent’s not taking the nutritional responsibility of their kids.  The fact that San Fransisco feels that they have to pass laws on private companies to keep kids out of obesity trouble is abominable.  I know that there is an argument that areas of more economic challenge tends to breed bad and cheap food choices, but I was one of those kids growing up in poverty and I was not eating McDonald’s or other fast food options.  We ate home cooked meals made by a step- mother that worked three jobs. Sure, it was not organic or top quality, but it was full of a  balanced nutrition and that was before WIC was ever put into place. 

2.)  Kid’s no longer know how to play.  They just know how to play video games and watch TV.  Some of this has to do with fear based ideas that there are predators lurking around every corner.  Most incidents come from inside the family/friend circle.  It is very rare to have an outsider be a predator. 

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not comfortable to just letting my kids go willy nilly in the neighborhood, but if more families would let their kids out to play there is safety in numbers.  As a kid, I traveled in a pack, outside of the few kid related dramas of bones, scrapped knees and disagreements all was harmonious and fun.   I guarantee that I burned hundreds of calories riding my bike  and running around with my buddies.

3.)  Snacks need to be more realistic in size and in food options.  We were a poor family, but eating just an apple was a filing snack.   A couple of crackers with peanut butter was a snack, and an orange was a snack. These snack options would tied me over to the next meal just fine.  It is amazing what a “snack” constitutes these days.  It is equivalent to a meal calorie wise.  I take my PD1 to a mommy and me class setting and we have “snack time”.  I see these other two-year olds eating so much for a snack and then loaded up with fruit juice.  If one feeds their kids a snack that are high in content and calories a couple of times a day, in addition to three meals they are going to set their kids up to being fat.

4.) It is not an option for Physical Education to be the first to be cut when budgets gets weakParent’s should be holding the school board accountable of keeping a balance of education.  This meaning keeping art, music, and physical education that is the glue that binds the core subjects together.  Hey, their taxes are paying for it.  

In my observation it appears more class room behavioral problems surface when those three subjects are booted out.  It also un-nerves me to see the school administration say that they are doing all they can in their power to better the education of the kids even with all of these hard economic times. Really?   School is about the kids, right?   Then cut the administration salaries and give it back to the school so these programs stay alive.  If you ever been to Los Angeles Unified School District Administration building in downtown, you understand that LAUSD is very top-heavy and could use some serious re-structuring and salary readjustments.

5.) Parent’s going back to the grass-roots of fast food being a treat.  Fast food should never be  a quick and easy fix to feeding your kid for the day.   Parent’s need to take control of the situation.  So what if your kid wants fast food every night, it does not mean that you comply.  You can feed your kids quick and inexpensive meals at home. 

A whole wheat tortilla, cheese, tomatoes, refried black beans, brown rice burritos takes about the same time to make as sitting in the drive thru. You can even can make extras and freeze them for a “quick pop in the microwave need”.  I did a quick break down of this choice that many kids get at Taco Bell and it literally costs a total of $15.oo for all the  ingredients that would make about 12 burritos. That comes to about $1.25 per burritos.  I included instant brown rice which cooks up in the microwave in 90 seconds, the beans heat up in the microwave in about 2 minutes and assembling the burritos (all twelve of them) would take about ten minutes.  That comes to about 15 minutes to have an immediate meal and 11 more for the future. 

Yesterday, I  also did a test  going through the McDonald’s drive -thru during an “off-peak” time and it was seven minutes (during peak times one should add about 3-5 minutes to that).  The time between the two are just a few minutes. Therefore, the rationalization that I have heard from parents that it is cheaper and faster to resort to fast food is an excuse and a lazy one at that.  The bottom line is there are many more meals that can be made at home that are cheap, quick and has a good nutritional value.  There are no excuses!

It is the parent’s that are responsible for this problem,  not the fast food industry.  Just taking out a toy from a Happy Meal is not going to keep the kids from eating Happy Meals, eating ice cream from Dairy Queen, or having frozen milk shakes and burgers from Sonic.  It is time to teach our kids self-control, making good choices, and being accountable. 

Teaching our kids that it is OK for government establishments to put unreasonable and non-successful “smack down ordinance laws”  is only teaching them that freedom has its limitations when someone views it as” not good for you”.   Fast food is not bad for you if you do it in moderation, it is bad for you if you do it all the time.  To much of anything is not good for anyone.  To much TV is bad, too much studying is bad, even too much water can be bad. 

We are wired to have self-control and responsiblity be our guide.  We are smart and intelligent beings, we are  people who should understand natural logical consequences and face those  consequences if you make bad choices.   What is next, they take all  cookies, chips, crackers, soft drinks, ice cream and candy out of the grocery stores if it does not meet nutritional guidelines!

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