Friday, May 23, 2014

"Ward, don't be too hard on the Beav..."

Sorry for the dry spell - blogging is more fun if you don’t HAVE to do it.  I marvel at Pioneer Woman and how she not only blogs pretty much daily, but also runs a huge business that sprang from that venture along with raising a family and running a ranch.  I’m sure she has good help now, but she probably never plops down in her recliner with a blankie and watches 14 episodes of “Leave it to Beaver” in a row.  And on that, I love that June does all the household chores with her hair did, crinolines under her fully gathered and nary a wrinkle skirts, with stockings and heels to boot, and confess to feeling a bit “cougaresque” as Wally matures into an All American Beefcake.  Last night he was playing tennis with an older woman, and I thought about my gramps old racquet hanging in the closet….AHEM.  But the sun is out, nature is calling, and my “yard” is a mess – my weeding and raking muscles will eventually stop screaming, but it does feel good to get something accomplished.

Handsome Stranger is currently working swing shift, and hopefully that’s coming to an end soon because it has messed with my dinner schedule to the point where I spend my evenings poking through the fridge looking for leftovers so I don’t have to cook a real meal.  I still cook for the kids, and could probably eat most of that, I just think I miss having dinner with him when he gets home and just don’t care (sad face here..)

Yesterday I was thinking about what we had at home that I could make into meals, and came up with 3 ideas and that’s when the wild hare crossed my path….I decided to make them all so I didn’t have to cook for at least 3 days.  I know….crazy is as crazy does, but for me it can be like a game – how many things can I do at once without screwing any of them up?  Well, it appears 2….the turkey meatballs for Swedish meatballs got a little brown on the bottom, but they still taste great and I deglazed the pan to help color the sauce.  Yeah…..I MEANT to do that!  I actually only finished one meal which we promptly ate, but I have the guts for 3 more just waiting to be thrown together in short order.

#1 was a thick, saucy Bolognese, full of ground turkey, veggies, red wine and tomatoes and paste – it will grace two separate meals, one involving fresh cheese tortellini’s and the other possibly a lasagna-esque dish layered with a bĂ©chamel and some yummy cheese.  #2 were the meatballs – I realized I had zero butter, so that will have to wait until lovely daughter gets her buns to the store…the sauce for Swedish meatballs really needs butter to form the roux.  And lastly, I tried a new recipe and made sweet and savory couscous to go with grilled Greek seasoned chicken breast fillets.  Practicing some Greek recipes for Son #1’s upcoming hitchin’ to Someday Daughter-in-Law, and this is one I found recently that sounded good, and all agreed.  Especially my Son in Law who commented on how healthy it seemed.  Sucker…..just kidding, it wasn’t bad at all!

I’m including the recipe for the couscous, but not the chicken because it was so simple – I filleted 4 large chicken breasts (Costco sells em Dolly Parton sized) into 3 thin fillets each, then sprinkled one side w/Greek Seasoning and put that side down on a hot grill that was lightly sprayed.  Once they were all cooking, I sprinkled the other side with a little more Greek Seasoning, then a skosh of kosher salt and garlic granules, turned when they started to turn white around the edges, then cooked until there were no more puddles of pink juice on top.  The thinner ones only took a couple minutes on each side…don’t overcook or they’ll be super dry.  Here’s the couscous - it can be a bit grainy and dry-seeming, but you can add a bit more broth if you want it to clump up….just realize that not EVERYTHING has to clump up, and try a new texture, - you might like it!

Sweet & Savory Couscous
1 T. butter
1 onion, diced
1 quart chicken broth or water w/3 tsp. chicken base added
1/3 C. golden raisins
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 C. couscous (plain or veggie, but not the Israeli pearl cuz I don’t know cook time)
¼ C. toasted almonds (or pine nuts if you’re rich or have a pine nut farm)

In large skillet or big saucepan, heat butter until melted, add onion and sautĂ© until semi tender.  Add broth and raisins, bring to a boil and simmer 10 minutes.  Add couscous all at once, stir to combine, cover and remove from heat for 10 minutes.  Fluff up with spoon, then stir in nuts and serve.  You could put butter on it if you wanted….I’m trying to be good and it was delicious just like this.

You could also make a salad with this - just cool, then dress with olive oil and lemon juice, any kind of seasoning or herbs that sound good, and could put in chicken, garbanzos, olives, roasted chopped veggies, feta, or whatever sounds good….serve on lettuce leaves for a little crunch and less guilt!  Now back to Wall….oops, I mean the Beav.  Rawr.