Friday, January 10, 2014

January 10, 2014

This week started out with a bang...two keepers on Saturday!  Ryan had asked to have some sort of pork, so I found a rubbed pork that was not only easy but delicious.  Don't you just love it when a main entree comes out like that?  We paired it with a new oven roasted potato side dish which everyone devoured.  We rounded out dinner with our favorite way to make green beans and dinner was a complete hit!

It has been snowing, and VERY cold this week!  We didn't have school for the first two days of the week (and that was coming off a full two week break as it was!) so what did we do...we cooked!  We made cookies for school lunches, and I made some dinners for the freezer since school also started for me this week.  I am taking 3 classes; yikes!!!  Anyway, I made one of our family's favorite make-ahead meals, chicken a la king.  One cooking session made 6 dinners for the future and only had to get the pots and pans dirty once!   It takes 2 full roasted chickens - if you want to save time and make it even easier on yourself you can pick up 2 rotisserie chickens at your grocery store or Costco.  I roasted the chickens, but hey, I've been known to roast 4 chickens at once in my oven!!  Next time we have it for dinner I will try to remember to take a picture and add it to the posting.

This week was also our youngest's birthday!  My oh my how time flies!  The first year of his life was rough and worrisome and now when we look at him we just see a funny, busy, happy, charming and kind, appreciative little boy who is 4 going on 14 (he spends a lot of time with his much older siblings!).  We are blessed.  He wanted a Jake & the Neverland Pirates cake, so I used the technique I discovered last year.  I thought I had posted about it (he wanted Thomas the Tank Engine last year) but I couldn't find the posting.  Here is a youtube clip you can watch to get the idea: frozen buttercream transfer .  The cake certainly wasn't perfect, but Liam absolutely loved it. If you every want to try the technique, let me know and I can give you more details about what worked for me.  And if you are local - I can even help you if you want!

A successful week in many ways  - everyone is back in the swing of school, we celebrated a birthday, we found 2 new keepers, and I made a tried and true freezer recipe that resulted  in 6 dinners.  We can only hope the coming week is just as successful!

Happy Cooking!

New Recipes
Oven Baked Potato Wedges
Rubbed Pork Roast

Tried and True Recipe
Chicken a la King

Chicken a la king

* 2 whole roasted chickens (4-5 lbs each)
* 1 cup butter
* 1 lb fresh white mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
* 1 cup AP flour
* 6 cups half and half or light cream
* 3 cups water
* 2 tbs chicken bullion granules, or 2 tbs "better than bullion"
* 1 tsp black pepper
* 4 bell peppers, your choice of colors
* 4-6 gallon size freezer bags


1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the mushrooms; cook and stir until soft.  Add the flour and cook and stir for 2 minutes.  The mixture may be lumpy. 
2. Gradually add the half and half and then the water, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens.  Whisk well at this point to make a smooth sauce.  Stir in the bullion and black pepper.  Let the sauce cool while you work on the chicken and peppers.
3. Pull the meat from the 2 chickens.  Rough cut chicken into bite size pieces.  Dived the chicken evenly among the freezer bags.
4. Cut all the peppers into bite size pieces.  Divide the peppers evenly among the freezer bags.
5.The sauce should be cool enough now to divide evenly among the freezer bags.  Seal the bags, label and freeze.
6. To serve, thaw the bag in the  fridge overnight or during the day.  Simmer the chicken, sauce and peppers in a large skillet over medium heat until warmed through.  Do not boil.

We love to serve this over fresh mashed potatoes, though we've also had it over noodles.  When we meal plan and this makes the list everyone is happy.  We love it, and I adore the fact that we just need to thaw and reheat it!  Yahoo!

Oven Baked Potato Wedges

* 4-6 russet potatoes
* 1/4 tsp kosher salt
* 1/4 tsp garlic powder
* 1/4 tsp paprika
* 1/4 tsp black pepper
* 1 tbsp olive oil

1. Wash and cut potatoes into wedges by cutting them lengthwise and then each half into 3 or 4 pieces
2. Place the potatoes in a bowl of water with 2 cups of ice cubes and leave them in the water for 30-40 minutes.
3. Mix the salt, garlic powder, paprika and pepper.  Preheat the oven to 450 F.
4. Dry the potatoes and place the dried wedges in 9 x 13 Pyrex or baking pan.  Sprinkle the seasoning mixture over the potatoes and mix to make sure they are all coated.
5. Drizzle the olive oil on the potatoes and again mix to ensure they are all covered.
6. Line baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.  Place the wedges on the paper and bake for 35 minutes.  Serve and enjoy!

You can peel the potatoes or leave the skins on - your choice; I chose to peel them knowing my audience.  One thing I really loved about this recipe is that you do not have to flip the potatoes halfway through the cooking time - so they really just go in the oven and you can forget about them until they are done!  My family all loved these. 

Rubbed Pork Roast

* 2 tsp garlic powder
* 2 tsp salt
* 2 tsp pepper
* 1 1/2 tsp ground mustard
* 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
* 1 1/2 tsp paprika
* 1 tsp sage
* 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
* 1 boneless pork loin roast, 2-2.5 lbs

1. Combine all the rub ingredients.  Place the pork roast in a zip top bag, then pour in the rub.  Turn the roast all around to get it completely covered with the rub.  Place in the fridge for 6 - 24 hours.
2. Bring the roast to room temperature by taking it out of the fridge about 30-40 minutes before you want to cook it.
3. Preheat the oven to 325 F.  Place the roast on a greased rack in a roasting pan.
4. Bake the roast for 60 minutes, then increase the temperature to 400 for an additional 20 minutes.
5. Remove the roast and let it rest for 10-15 minutes under tin foil.
6. Slice the meat and serve!

We loved this.  It was easy and came out moist.  We had plenty of leftovers and plan on using them in one of our favorite left-over reinvention meals... pork and caramelized onion quesadillas!