Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Mmm, Mmm, Good Home Recipes

I am not one for following recipes.  In fact, when I try to follow a recipe, dishes do not turn out.  (This isn't usually a problem, except when it comes to chocolate chip's a good thing I love chocolate chip cookie dough!)  Over the years I have come to adapt and am now "a great cook" according to my husband, who was afraid when we got married that he would have to sneak fast food the rest of his life just to keep from losing weight.  The following are some of what I have made lately.  Please feel free to try any dish.  Most are simple and quick.  Also feel free to play around with my dish guidelines (I hesitate to call them "recipes" as I do not actually measure while I am cooking and these really are just guidelines).  Starting with our favorite:

 This dish looks difficult to make, but it really simple and can be made in about 30-45 minutes, less if you already have goat cheese made.  (We do not keep it around and I usually make up a small batch just for this.)  I would also like to note a cold stuffed chicken breast makes for a great "sandwich" in the car on the way to work the next morning! 
Brown 1/4 pound sausage.  Mix with 1 1/2 cups crumbled goat cheese and 2 Tablespoon parsley.  Cut a slit into 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  Stuff with goat cheese mixture.  Slightly beat an egg.  Roll each chicken breast in the beaten egg then roll in cornbread (or corn muffin) mix.  Fry in vegetable oil for 5 minutes on each side on medium-high heat.  The chicken will turn out crispier if left uncovered, but I usually cover the pan to reduce the mess.

If this isn't quick and simple, I don't know what is!
 Take a roughly 3 pound pork roast and place it in a crockpot.  Add a 1 pound bag of baby carrots.  Add 3 or 4 potatoes, cut into about 1 inch chunks.  Add about 4 cups water.  Let set on low heat all day till you get home from work (about 9 hours) then set to warm while you do chores (about another 1 1/2 hours).  If you don't have chores, enjoy right after work!

In case you have guessed by now, my crockpot and I have become great friends since I started both working full time and building up the farm with Matt.  It's a convenient way to make quick but healthy meals when all of us are busy during the excuses for a McDonalds or Pizza Hut stop here, much to Isaac's dismay! 
The evening before, quick soak a pound of dried great northern beans by boiling them in a medium pan full of water for approximately one minute.  Dump the beans and hot water into the crockpot and allow to sit overnight.  The next morning you can dump the water and add fresh (to reduce the likelihood of gas) or you can retain the same water (which I do when I am really in a hurry with no adverse affects).  Add about 1 cup of salt pork, cut into 3 or 4 pieces.  Add a few dashes of garlic powder if you'd like (and have time).  Set on low and forget about it till you get home from work (about 9 hours).  Set to warm after work if you are rushing out to chores or just enjoy.  Tastes great with some corn bread!

Matt LOVES biscuits and gravy, so I try to make a batch whenever we have the extra milk and the extra time.
Take 1 quart milk (we now use goat milk, but I used to make it the same way with cow milk) and heat over medium heat.  While the milk is warming, brown 1/2 pound can use up to a pound if you like your gravy meaty.  When the milk gets good and hot, begin to whisk constantly and add flour, a little at a time, until milk starts to thicken...about 1 cup, give or take a little because I just keep the bag of flour next to the stove and keep adding small amounts by hand, which I recommend you do, too!  Once the gravy is thickening, add the browned sausage (and a little of the melted fat for extra taste, if you like), and salt to taste.  Serve over your favorite biscuits, homemade or store bought.  ***For a great variation, and my personal favorite gravy, skip the sausage and add bacon fat at that point.  We freeze bacon fat in ice cube trays and I add 3 or 4 cubes of bacon fat to the milk gravy.  Mmmmmm.  (Don't let my nutrition professors find out about THAT recommendation!)

If you have a favorite dish using farm fresh ingredients, please share...

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