The Great Biscuit War

For years it has been kind of like a war with my wife and I over biscuits with soup. She only wants plain biscuits and I want the biscuits to have a little more flavour. It isn’t because plain biscuits don’t taste good, I actually like then. Thing is I don’t want them every time I make homemade soup. I remember the first time I made them and put cheese in them, my wife eat about half a biscuit, and complained about them for about a week. So for years it was plain biscuits everytime I made homemade soup. Eventually I got a little smarter and started taking some of the dough and adding what I want to it. My wife still tries to find ways so she can make the biscuits so that they are all plain biscuits. Think in her mind it is a criminal offense to add things to her biscuit recipe. Made ham stock yesterday so today is soup day. Last night she said she was going to make the biscuits and put them in the fridge for me to cook today, thankfully she forgot to do it. So my portion of the biscuits have green onion, cheese, and parsley. She is at our daughters but I can already hear her comments. She will make a comment about how unnecessary it is to put anything in her biscuit recipe. Doesn’t matter because I am going to enjoy them.

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Shrimp And Onions

My wife wanted chicken for supper which she is getting. I on the other hand didn’t want it so I took out shrimp for myself. Made ham stock this morning and as I was cutting the onions for it I decided to do something with the shrimp I haven’t done for years. Shrimp and onions I had in a restaurant about 40 years ago and was impressed. The sharpness of the onions is perfect with the sweetness of the shrimp. Also realized that onions are something most people don’t think of as a vegetable. They get used more as a seasoning. I remember having them growing up as the vegetable with a meal. Next shopping trip I will get the things I need to make a vegetable dish out of them. Something else I stopped making and shouldn’t of because it is really good, but that’s next week. Pan fried shrimp and onions is simple, quick, and really good. I use 16-20 count shrimp but any will work.

1 bag 16-20 count shrimp peeled and devined

1 small onion cut in leaves

4 cloves garlic minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon hot sauce

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon butter

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Mix everything except butter lemon juice, and parsley together in a bowl and refrigerate for at least one hour. Preheat a frying pan on medium high heat with the butter. When butter starts to brown and the shrimp mixture. Cook for about 90 seconds, turn the shrimp over add lemon juice, and cook for another 90 seconds. Mix in parsley and serve.

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Don’t Waste The Woody Ends Of Asparagus

When you buy asparagus you have to break the woody end off. I maybe the only person who does put them in the trash. When I can get asparagus at a good price we always buy it. Both my wife and I think it’s a great vegetable anyway you cook it. For years I always trashed the woody end. One time when I was breaking them off I thought why can’t I use them in stock. So into the freezer they went waiting for the next time I made stock. They create a whole new taste to the stock whether it’s ham, chicken, turkey, or beef. The turkey stock I made that time with them was great. Now I have a bag of them in the freezer most of the time. Today I made ham stock and added 12 of them to it. Found out quickly that to many of them is good but 12 is perfect. So don’t trash them, keep them for stock.

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Friday Surprise, But It’s Not Friday

Sunday supper was roast pork and we have leftovers so perfect thing for them is Friday surprise. Not my name for it, it’s the name given to it by the person I stole it from. Story of how I got the recipe is in my original post Nov. 4, 2019. This is a family favourite of ours and I make it everytime I have leftover roast pork. Decided after I made it the next time I make it I will go back to the original recipe. The chef who made it the first time I had it used leftover roast beef, pork, and chicken. So for the next little while I will keep a bag in the freezer and keep what ever leftover meat I have. Since the gravy was also a combination of beef, pork, and chicken gravy I will keep those. Figure it well past the time I made it his way. It’s over 40 years since the last time I made the recipe his way. Even just with the pork this is just a great meal. Some very simple things make a great meal and this is a very simple thing to make. The chef’s story of his mother making this all the time and having it on Fridays when he was a kid make it a special recipe for me. For my wife it tastes good and uses up the leftovers. This recipe isn’t set in stone you can use what ever vegetables you like. I have used red, mushrooms, and peas, today it was what I had.

3 cups cubed leftover roast pork

1 onion diced

1 rib celery chopped

1/2 cup chopped parsley

1 tablespoon butter

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup rice

2 cups chicken broth

1 cup leftover pork gravy reheated

Put rice and parsley in a casserole dish and set aside.

Preheat a frying pan with butter on medium heat. Add pork, celery, onion, salt and pepper, cook for 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Pour mixture over the rice and parsley and mix well, cover and put it a preheated 350 oven. Cook for 20 minutes, stir and cook for an additional 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve with leftover gravy.

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My Appreciation

When I started this blog over two years ago it was to give me something to do in my retirement and to give our children the recipes for what and how I cook. As our daughter put it my legacy project so that even our grandchildren would have my recipes. Our family likes what I cook so it seemed like the perfect thing for me to do. I thought given it was on WordPress there might be a very few other people that would see it and laugh at it. There is nothing fancy about what I cook, it’s just good food and for the life of me I couldn’t see anyone other than our family ever wanting to look at the recipes I cook.

This journey with my blog has surprised me. Surprised really doesn’t express it, it has totally amazed and astounded me. People found my blog, people started following my blog, I couldn’t believe it. When people started leaving me messages it shocked me. I couldn’t believe people actually liked what I cooked. It took me awhile to figure out how to put pictures on the posts, and I admit that I don’t take very good pictures. I actually thought the pictures would drive people away given it was just a picture of my supper. I was wrong more and more people started visiting, following and leaving comments. That totally amazed me, and then people actually started making my recipes. I could not believe the number of people I started to see visiting, and it has become thousands. My goofy blog made for our children turned into something else, shocking for a goof like me.

I started to notice that some recipes were getting lots of views and I couldn’t figure out why. The recipes were simple recipes that my wife thought I was crazy to put on my blog. The one that astounded me was my post Sweet And Sour Pork Buttons. When it started getting hundreds of views a week I couldn’t believe it. For the life of me I couldn’t figure out how all those people were even finding my blog. So after we got settled into our new house I decided to see if I could find out how. I did the simple thing, I googled pork buttons. I just about dropped my tablet, there was my recipe, the third hit on google. After I picked my jaw off the floor I sent our kids and my wife a text telling them to google pork buttons. It surprised them as much as it had me.

I appreciate everyone who visits my blog and looks at my recipes. The people who follow my blog and leave comments I can’t express how much I appreciate you. You have turned my blog into something that is very special to me. Retirement can be boring for some, mine is not. Everyday I look forward to seeing who has visited and reading the comments. I have started thinking about things I haven’t made for years that were really good, making them and posting them. My blog has become a big part of my life and a large part of the joy I find in life. Yes it’s is still a blog for my family, but now includes my blog family. I truly appreciate the fun and joy you all have given me. So I will continue posting my simple little recipes with my crappy pictures.

Thank You All

Graham

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Salisbury Steak With Onion Mushroom Gravy

Salisbury steak is something I don’t make often, which is a shame because I really like it. First time I ever had it was in the Salisbury House restaurant, it is permanently on their menu. I sort of use the recipe from the Campbell’s Soup Cookbook. The reason it’s sort of is because I modified it and have looked at their recipe in over 20 years. I think everyone gets in a rut with using ground beef, I know I do. Took ground beef out of the freezer this morning and was going to do the simple thing with it, make tacos. Make them to often and today found out I didn’t have enough tortillas. Next idea was hamburger hash but I didn’t feel like having it. Thought of making hamburger stew and started getting everything ready. When I went in the pantry to get a can of tomatoes notice the can of Campbell’s soup. My mind immediately went to Salisbury steak. Since I only needed part of the can for the recipe figured the rest would make a good gravy for mashed potatoes. Salisbury steak is a great way to use ground beef and a different way to use it. The addition of the mushroom soup gives a really good flavour to the patty. As silly as it sounds a leftover patty makes a great sandwich. This is a simple recipe that makes a really good meal. This recipe makes 3 patties.

For the Salisbury steak

1 pound ground beef

1/3 can Campbell’s soup

1/3 cup bread crumbs

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

Mix everything together well in a bowl, form into 3 oblong patties and refrigerate for at least one hour

For The Gravy

2/3 can mushroom soup

1/2 onion finely diced

1/2 teaspoon mustard powder

1/2 cup beef broth

Mix everything together in a small bowl and set aside.

Preheat a frying pan on medium heat. Add the patties to the pan and cover and cook for 5 minutes. Carefully turn the patties over and cook uncovered for an additional 5 minutes. Remove the patties from the pan and drain off any grease. Add the gravy to the pan and bring it to a gentle boil, return the patties to the pan, reduce heat to medium low, and cook for 4 minutes. Serve the Salisbury steak with some of the gravy on top and the rest of the gravy is perfect for mashed potatoes.

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Spinach And Chicken Penne

My wife really likes penne, but it isn’t my favourite pasta. Over the years I have made different penne recipes, chicken and penne is my wife’s favourite. Of all the penne recipes I have made it is the one I enjoy occasionally. Think my wife would like to have it monthly. Normally I don’t play with the recipe, cherry tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, parsley, and pasta water. Since I have been wanting spinach and she doesn’t like it as a vegetable she said could you use spinach instead of parsley. My answer was a loud YES! Spinach if I have it in the fridge I will put in just about anything. So last night’s supper was spinach and chicken penne. I found it an improvement to the original, and my wife said this is really good. A really good from her means it is something I will have to make again.

This is one of the simplest pasta dishes to make and works perfectly with penne. The freshness of the sauce is what makes it taste great. The chicken takes on the favours and adds flavour to the sauce. For me how fast the sauce is made make it a perfect dish on a busy day. The whole dish comes together in the time it takes to boil the water and cook the penne.

Half a bag of penne cooked to package directions

2 chicken breast cut in strips

1 pint cherry tomatoes cut in half

5 cloves garlic minced

1/3 cup olive oil

2/3 cup pasta water

2 heaping bowls spinach

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon italian seasoning

Preheat a large frying pan on medium high heat. Add chicken and salt and pepper, cook for 3 minutes stirring often. Add tomatoes, garlic, salt, pepper, and italian seasoning, reduce heat to medium. Cook until the penne is done. Add the spinach, penne, and pasta water, cook for 90 second stirring constantly.

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Spinach And Mushroom Omelette

Yesterday has passed and I felt like having the omelette that I had originally planned for yesterday. With an omelette you can just about put anything you like in them. Yes they make a great breakfast but also work for lunch. I have even made them for supper and had a salad with it. I am sure just about everyone has made a simple cheese omelette. I make cheese omelettes often, but I also get a little fancy with them. I have even made them with chunky salsa and cheese. Today it was using what I had in the fridge that I knew worked well together.

Spinach and mushrooms is something that is a perfect match together. Years ago in a restaurant I had spinach and mushrooms as a side dish. Don’t remember what city in the southern United States it was but I do remember how good it was. Kind of shocked the waitress when I asked for vinegar which it took 2 trips for her to get what I was after. First trip it was malt vinegar and I said no it’s white vinegar. Took a couple of minutes for her to return with it in a bowl. She told me it was only used to clean the coffee pot. She was shocked when I spooned some on the spinach and mushrooms. A couple of minutes later the chef came out and asked if I had really put it on the spinach and mushrooms. Told him that I grew up having vinegar on spinach and swiss chard. Before I had finished my meal he returned and said he tried it and it was actually good. No vinegar with the omelette but the spinach and mushrooms are there. Mushrooms work extremely well with spinach and swiss chard and makes a great side dish, and makes a great omelette filling. Won’t tell you how to make an omelette because think you know. No cheese in this because I didn’t want to mask the taste of the spinach and mushrooms.

4 mushrooms thinly sliced

1 heaping soup bowl of spinach

2 teaspoons butter

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat a frying pan on medium heat with the butter. Add the mushrooms and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the spinach and cook until wilted, remove and retain. Add your beaten eggs to the pan and cook until egg is set. Spread the spinach and mushrooms evenly over half of the omelette. Fold the omelette over and serve immediately.

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Some days I Don’t Feel Like Cooking

There are days when I don’t really feel like doing anything, not even cook something. Even lunch today was a bowl of cereal, yesterday I had planned on making an omelette for lunch today. Thankfully I don’t have many days where I feel so lazy I don’t want to cook. Before covid 19 screwed everything in Manitoba up this would of been a day we went out for supper. I could order something but I prefer my food hot, not lukewarm. That’s the bad thing about ordering something, when it arrives it’s not hot. With our new house it is even worse because we are out of the city and nothing is really close. Of all the little conveniences that covid has screwed up not being able to go to a restaurant for supper is the one that bugs me the most. Not that we went out for supper often it’s that we now can’t. Yes the restaurants are open with limited capacity, but you still have to take your mask off to eat. For young people the sense your impervious to things allows you to take advantage of the restaurants being open with limitations. For my wife and I it isn’t worth the risk. So I may not want to cook today but I have to because of covid and that bugs me too. So supper is going to be as simple as I can make it. A pork stir fry and rice, so no recipe or pictures of this one. Hopefully we get vaccinated soon and then on days when I don’t feel like cooking it will be safe enough for us to go to a restaurant. Not many times I wish I had frozen tv dinners but days like this that’s what supper would of been. Ok venting is over.

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Chicken And Spinach Quesadilla

Today we had planned a shopping trip looking for a new accent chair for the living room. My wife wanted to go to Ikea and another place in the same area. I reluctantly agreed to it, but really didn’t like the idea. Agreed that we needed to sit in the chair before we bought it. Looked on line so figured it would be a quick in and out of the stores. That didn’t work out, there were at least 100 people standing in line outside Ikea. Ikea got a no go so we went to the other store. Had to laugh when we got there, it’s closed Mondays. So the forty minute drive to get there was a waste.

Since we had planned a day out supper was to be something easy and quick. Quesadillas fit the bill for quick and easy so that is what my wife wanted. No shopping so we were home by noon, which meant I could play with the quesadilla. Had picked up a big bag of spinach with plans for a penne dish and salads so I figured I might as well add it to the quesadilla. Chicken breast I took out of the freezer before we left so was going to fry it. My thought was using the frying pan after I cooked the chicken would give the spinach a good flavour, it worked. Quesadillas are something we both like and you can add a number of things to them and it works. Spinach is a good choice because the bitter flavour goes well with the chicken and salsa. I could eat spinach and swiss chard every week. My wife isn’t a big fan but does like it in salads and wraps and a few other things. I like it as a vegetable and I think I could make a meal out of it. Recipe I bought the spinach for will be later this week, today is quesadilla. This quantity makes 2 full Quesadillas, or 4 of the fold over type. Will do this as two stages starting with the chicken.

1 flattened chicken breast

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon olive oil

Mix chili powder, salt and pepper together, sprinkle both sides of the chicken breast. Preheat a frying pan on medium heat with the olive oil. Cook chicken covered for 4 minutes per side. Set chicken breast aside to cool to room temperature.

Spinach – think the best way to measure the amount is 2 heaped soup bowls

2 cloves garlic minced

1 tablespoon finely diced red pepper

1/3 teaspoon salt

Using the same frying pan that you just cooked the chicken in still on medium heat add red pepper, and the spinach. When it starts to wilt add the garlic and salt. Cook until all the spinach has wilted, remove and let cool. When cool squeeze the moisture out and chop.

1 cooked chicken breast diced about 1/4 inch dice

3 green onions chopped

1 and 1/2 tablespoons salsa

Spinach

2 cups grated cheddar cheese

1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

4 large tortillas

Mix chicken, green onion, salsa in a small bowl. Place a tortilla in a frying pan on medium heat. Add 1/4 of the cheese, 1/2 chicken mixture, sprinkle 1/2 spinach, finish with another 1/4 of the cheese. Top with another tortilla and press down, cook until the bottom is crisp and brown. Flip over with a plate and cook until it is crisp. Remove and cut into wedges, repeat with the rest of the ingredients.

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