Posted in Main Dish

Indian Tacos

thepartysinthekitchen.me
Footloose and fancy free,

my husband and I are on the road. We’ve decided to start a new chapter in our lives that will not include a 9 to 5, but will allow us to be more involved in the things that speak to our hearts. But first, a road trip. We have had our granddaughter with us for the summer and we are now delivering her back to her parents in Oklahoma. We have had a great summer, and these last few days will be no exception. We will be camping (in our tiny home on wheels a.k.a. travel trailer) along the way and enjoying a few of the sights. Tonight, we are sleeping in Gallup, New Mexico. All day along the highway, I kept seeing signs for Indian fry bread which inspired a dinner of Indian Tacos.

I’m not sure what the traditional recipe is. I just know what my mom, who lived in Oklahoma for the last twenty-five years of her life used to make. They included the same fixings as regular tacos– seasoned ground meat, beans, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and onion. Whatever you like really. The only difference is instead of a tortilla, everything is piled on top of a crispy fry bread. Oh man, is it yummy. Since we were on the road, I used canned biscuits that I rolled out, then fried in about ½ inch of hot oil. You can do the same or try the following recipe.


Indian Fry Bread

Ingredients
• 3 cups All-purpose Flour
• 1/2 teaspoon Salt
• 3 teaspoons Baking Powder
• 1 1/3 cup water. Can use part milk if desired.
• Vegetable Shortening or Lard for Frying
Instructions
1. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together.
2. Add the water and mix/knead the dough until soft.
3. Let rest for 20-30 minutes.
4. Separate dough into small balls about the size of a lime. Roll out to ¼ inch thickness.
5. Fry in deep fryer or skillet with 1-2 inches of oil/shortening/lard until golden.
If you’re not having Indian Tacos, a little sprinkle of cinnamon sugar or drizzle of honey makes a very sweet treat.


This much I know. If you are what you eat, then I only want to eat the good stuff.
Ratatouille

 

Posted in Dumping Dinner

Dumping Dinner: Calico Beans

thepartysinthekitchen.me
Start with a variety of beans.

The first BBQ weekend of the summer is here and so I thought you might like and easy side dish to add to what is going on the grill. Marie, my daughter’s mother-in-law, has a version of Calico Beans that is much sought after at family gatherings and her pot usually goes home empty.

I actually grew up with a similar recipe. It was an easy week night meal that Mom could throw together in a flash. Like many of the recipes found on the internet, she used pork and beans. She cooked up onions and ground beef, then added the beans along with the catsup, mustard, and brown sugar and simmered everything a bit. I still make it occasionally when I want a taste from childhood.


Calico Beans

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces bacon, diced. You can use precooked if you like.
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 2 14.5 ounce cans white beans, any variety [See notes]
  • 1 14.5 ounce black beans
  • 1 14.5 ounce kidney beans
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup catsup
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Cook bacon until medium.
  2. Stir in onions and cook until soft.
  3. Add ground beef. Cook until no longer pink.
  4. Dump bacon, onion, ground beef mixture in crock pot. Dump in the rest of the ingredients. Give it a stir.
  5. Cook on low for 4 hours.
  6. Enjoy!

These beans can be put together in a freezer bag to make later. Just leave the ground beef in a chunk and break up after cooking in the crock pot. Omit the bacon. It can be added later in the cooking process. When ready to cook, dump in crock pot and cook on low for 6 hours.

Notes:

  • This recipe can be made on the stove top from start to finish or poured in a casserole dish and baked for an hour or so, until bubbly and brown around the edges. Yum.
  • You can use any combination of beans that suits you.
  • I did not have a full 1/2 cup catsup so I used some mild salsa for the rest.

 

 

Posted in Easy Recipes for Busy Days, Main Dish, Slow Cooking

Dinner’s Ready! Slow Cooking for Busy Days

 

One of my struggles is having something ready to eat at the end of the day. Crazy for a food blogger to admit. Even more so, when you realize my commute from my workplace to my kitchen is literally ten feet. It should be easy for me to just pop in the kitchen and whip something up, but it doesn’t always happen.

This topic came up on a recent trip to visit my daughters in Oklahoma. They told me they were dealing with this problem in their life, too. [Their commute is much longer than mine.] Work zapped all their energy, leaving them uninspired when it came time to cook. Fast food was taking its toll on their bank account and on their health. And eating on the fly was not allowing them to sit down, relax, and reconnect with their families.

I mentioned once-a-month cooking, but they needed something that took less prep and could go directly in the slow cooker from the freezer. With a little research, we found what are called dump dinners. They are just what the name implies. Dump all the ingredients into the crock pot, set the timer, and voila’ dinner is ready when you return home. The beauty of these meals is that with a little time and planning, you can have a few packaged up in the freezer, ready to go.

Before our visit was over, the girls had some in their freezer. All they had to do each morning was put them in the slow cooker, set the time and temperature, and go. They have since reported back saying how much they enjoyed them. One added benefit—they loved walking into the house after a long day to the smell of home-cooked food. They felt spoiled, and hoped more dinners would find their way into the freezer the next time I came to visit. Lol!

Now that I am back home, I have been testing some recipes for myself. This week we enjoyed Pesto Ranch Chicken [See recipe below.] It was delish and oh so easy. I shared on social media what I was doing and it seems there is a lot of interest in having meals with little to no prep and can go from freezer to crockpot. Our fast-paced culture has not diminished our desire to come together and eat something good at the end of the day. This method of cooking makes that easy, and adds an aroma of goodness to welcome you home.

The smells of slow cooking spread around the house and impart a unique warmth matched only by the flavour of the food.

Yotam Ottolenghi


crock-pot

Over the next few weeks, I will be posting some of the Dump Dinner recipes I’m trying. Here is the one I put together today. It reminds me of the flavor of Salisbury Steak.

Savory Steak and Gravy

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ – 2 pounds cube steak
  • 1 cup sliced onion
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 can cream of chicken and mushroom soup
  • 1 can French onion soup
  • 1 package au jus gravy mix
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water

Directions

  1. Whisk together cream of chicken and mushroom soup, French onion soup, Au jus gravy mix, Worcestershire sauce, and 2/3 water in crock pot.
  2. Add onions, mushrooms, and cube steak.
  3. Cook on low for five hours.
  4. Mix together 2 tablespoons cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water. Add mixture to sauce in crock pot to thicken.
  5. Serve with potatoes, noodles, or rice.
  6. Enjoy!

To freeze ahead: Dump meat, onions, mushrooms, soups, gravy mix, and Worcestershire into a one gallon freezer bag and freeze for up to three months. When it’s time to cook, dump frozen into crock pot along with 2/3 cup water. Cook on low for 6 hours. Thicken and serve.

steak-and-gravy2

Pesto Ranch Chicken

Ingredients

  • 1 ½-2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
  • 1 small jar pesto sauce
  • 1 package or 2 tablespoons dry Ranch dressing mix
  1. Dump all ingredients into crock pot.
  2. Cook on low 5 hours.
  3. Enjoy!

To freeze: Put all ingredients into one gallon freezer bag and freeze up to 3 months.


Here are just a few tips I have found helpful before you get started.

  • Label your freezer bags with a permanent marker and allow it to dry before you get started. Along with the name of the recipe, date packaged and cooking time and heat, include any ingredients such as water or broth that must be added at time of cooking.
  • Place the freezer bag into a 64-96 oz. plastic bowl when ready to load. This will give it stability and will free up your hands.
  • Leave meat in whole pieces. It cooks better and can be cut up or shredded when done.
  • Freeze bag in bowl. This is a very important step. I know you’ve seen pictures of freezer meals all flat and stacked neatly on the freezer shelf. It’s a thing of beauty, but the shape simply doesn’t fit into the crock pot. Freezing the bag in bowl will give it the right shape to fit easily into the slow cooker without defrosting. Note: No need to leave in bowl once frozen. Remove and reuse bowl to shape more dinners.

Have fun! Please share your favorites with us. I’d love to hear about your life in the kitchen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in The Party's in the Kitchen

Big Box to the Rescue!

watermelonThere are times in life when the stress rises. This week is one of those times. All of our year end events are taking place, one is a party for a group of ladies who faithfully serve in leadership ministry. Being that girl who is comfortable around the kitchen, I am responsible for putting the food together. Usually, I am excited for the opportunity to cook something special but this week it’s not the only event that is drawing on my energies.

So, it’s Big Box to the rescue! I was able to put a menu together for fifty that would require a minimal work in my kitchen. In fact, the advance prep only took about an hour. I chose rotisserie chicken that is already boned to make into Cashew Chicken Salad Sandwiches. We will also enjoy Deviled Eggs, two different pre-made vegetable salads, watermelon and assorted cookies. Easy Peasy. And I believe everyone will be satisfied not so much because of the food, but that they spent time laughing and enjoying each others company.

It’s easy to impress me. I don’t need a fancy party to be happy.
Just good friends, good food, and good laughs. I’m happy. I’m satisfied. I’m content.
~Maria Sharapova

This is my daughter’s recipe. Enjoy!

Genny’s Cashew Chicken Salad Sandwiches

I like to serve this simple recipe on crescents. I get the mini crescents from Winco. They make the perfect little finger sandwiches.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, baked and diced
4 green onions, chopped
2/3 cup cashews (the cashew pieces are fine)
1 cup mayo (light mayo is fine)
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients and serve as a sandwich.

A variation can also be made by using pecans. Equally delicious.