Friday, September 3, 2010

Turdsday Tales with Talapia and College Cooking Frenzy pt. 1

Hey Peeps!!!   It's TURDSday! hehehee

Pardon my kept us awake half the night last night because of the storm.  She barked and cried and I wondered.....has it really been THAT long since we've had a storm that she forgot what it was??!!

Moving on to cooking things 'cuz I've been cooking like a crazy woman!! I decided to attempt to cook some things the kids would eat and put it away in the freezer and then when they come home from school they could take some back with them.  I'm happier knowing they will be eating less frozen, processed foods or fast food and hopefully they will be happier knowing that's one less thing they have to spend their grocery funds on!   Win Win situation - don't you think?

First I started with Cowboy Stew

Cast of characters:

1 lb (or so) of ground beef
28 oz can stewed tomatoes
2 cans corn
1 can white beans
1 can green beans
1 can red beans
1 onion, chopped
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
salt & pepper to taste

Of course there is ground beef (which was on sale at Sprout's this week and started this cooking frenzy), but it's already in the pan with the onions getting browned up.  Make sure you use a big pot...dutch oven size.  You will understand why very shortly.

Get that beef and onions all browned and ready

No, you are not imagining things... I do have my potato masher in the pan.  I am not sure that I have ever used it on potatoes but I always use it on the ground beef.  Just breaks up those big lumps and keeps it all separated really nice.

Now pay attention, this gets difficult.......  Take all the rest of the ingredients and dump them into the pot.

Don't drain any of the can goods... seeee why I told you to use a big pot!!

Now, let this stuff come to a boil and then cover and simmer for as long as you can.  The longer it simmers the better it tastes.   If I may jump ahead for a moment.... I had SEVERAL dishes going at one time and this soon happened to my poor stove.

I ran out of room and that cowboy stew is in the big pot on the right and I decided....hmmmm, let's just put him in the crock pot and let him simmer another place.

now he's over on the other counter simmering himself to pieces and out of my way.  I let him simmer for about 5 hours but I thought you know, if I make the cowboy stew ahead of time then put it in the crockpot in the morning and let him stew all day.......yep, another crockpot success story.
This is what happened when he was all finished and moved to the freezer containers.

The kids can just take this out to thaw and reheat in the microwave, maybe they can even cook some biscuits to go along with it. 

Next up...... Taco Meat

Yep, just plain ole' taco meat. They can do many different things with the meat but it saves them the step of having to buy a whole pound of ground beef  and then eat the same thing until it's gone. 

You gotta get the meat in the pan peeps

If you notice I added just a tiny bit of onions and a spoonful of canned green chilis and some ground cumin to the meat.   Since it's going to the freezer I was trying to add as much flavor as possible. 

Getting the seasoning mix ready.  Once again, more flavor so I used beef broth instead of water and just mixed in the taco seasoning as directed.

The meat has all simmered and is ready for it's containers. I used the food saver for the taco meat.  I love that food saver and because it makes a flat package it's easier for the kids to store in their freezers. Especially the Abogg since he is in an apartment with 3 other 19 year old boys!

Since there was about 1 1/4 lbs per batch I just divided the batches in half.

Oh, and I made one big batch to keep for the hubby and I

Next item on the list..... Spaghetti Sauce

First up you gotta chop the onions and garlic  ( I chopped a LOT of onions on Wednesday!)

Now we gotta brown up the onions, garlic and ground beef in the olive oil
(remember my ground beef is extra lean and there is no fat to may not need the oil if you are using meat with a higher fat content)

Once that is all browned and ready we gotta add the rest of the ingredients to the pan

1 med onion, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 lb gr beef
3 Tbsp olive oil
2  16 oz cans tomato sauce
1 16 oz can crushed tomatoes
3 Tbsp chopped parsley
1 1/2 tsp oregano
1 1/2 tsp basil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Dump all the other ingredients in the pan with the meat and onions mixture.  Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for at least 30 minutes.   Now....if you remember I had lots of cooking projects going and I needed room on my stovetop.  So Mr. Spaghetti Sauce got moved to another crock pot, set on low and joined the Cowboy Stew in the simmering section of the kitchen.

Ok, let's make some Italian Vegetable Ragout
I wasn't sure how this would taste frozen so the last time we made it for dinner we froze some in a food saver bag.   Pulled it out a few weeks later and heated it up to test it.  It was proclaimed as "good as the day you made it" so we've added another dinner to the kids list.   This is all ready and all they need to do is cook up some couscous or even rice and serve it over the top for some good veggies!

If you remember from when I've made this before I have to cook my onions first (seeee more onions) because I just thought the onions overwhelmed the dish if I didn't.   If you are a big onion fan like my might prefer dumping the onions in with the rest of the ingredients.

First a little olive oil and a little butter
This gets warmed and it's time to dump in the onions
Let those onions cook until nice and translucent.
Time to gather up the other ingredients

4 small zucchini, sliced thinly
1 onion, diced
2 14 1/2 oz cans Italian Stewed tomatoes (I used regular-they were out of Italian style), undrained
1 16 oz can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
1 tsp Italian seasoning (I used a bit more since I had no seasoning in the stewed tomatoes)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

When those onions are ready, dump everything in the pan

Let all of this come to a boil then cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes stirring occasionally.
I admit, I like my veggies a little more cooked so I let ours simmer about 30 minutes and this is what we ended up with

Now it's time to bag it up

I give you a glimpse of summer love
I flash froze these and then plopped away in my freezer, so about January I can rememer what I miss about summertime!

Whew folks, it's time for dinner!!!

We had fish and corn

Yet another thing I love about summer....fresh corn off the cob. Just scrape it off in the bowl and call the dog in to get the flying kernals off the floor  :0)

I just dumped that corn into a skillet with a little bit a butter, some salt and pepper.

It's so good it doesn't need much.  Come to think of it, I need to go to the store and get some more.... I can freeze this too!!!!
Oh, sorry...... I lost my train of thought
Now the fish batter ingredients
I can't remember the exact amounts but the tilapia is soaking in milk and then it gets dumped into the cornmeal mixture to coat.  (I've made this before so you can look back in the archives if you like)

Now I added some grapeseed oil to the iron skillet and got it all hot and bubbly.
Time to fry the fish... normally I don't do this in my house, I usually take the pan outside and heat it up on the grill and fry out there but we had a little storm brew up and I had to cook inside.  It's grapeseed oil so it doesn't stink and I only had two fillets to fry so I could do it quickly in one batch.

Fry the fish...about 3-5 minutes on each side

Remove from grease and drain on paper towels then sit down and have a nice dinner with hubby
That's just store bought pico de gallo with a chopped avocado mixed in served on top of the fish and King's Hawaiin rolls.  Dinner was scrumptious and we snorted it down!!!

Now.......a final picture of Wednesday's work

If you will excuse me.... I'm headed to bed. I'm tired this was sooo much cooking for one day and tomorrow it's round two!!!

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