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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Playing Catch Up

Monday's Menu was not meatless, but it was Labor Day and we all had the day off so I took the extra time to make fried chicken. I don't usually make it because it can be so time and labor intensive and basically I have never had fried chicken as good as my great grandmothers so it always seems pointless to me. But then I am thinking Gramma probably wasn't ALWAYS great at making chicken, it takes practice.

I soaked the chicken pieces (chicken thighs) in my own version of buttermilk, basically regular milk with some vinegar added to it, then I added a spoonful of dried Ranch dressing mix to it and thoroughly covered all the chicken pieces. I let them soak while I made a flour mixture in a plastic bag, basically 1 1/2 C of regular flour, salt, pepper and paprika about a teaspoon of each. I shook up each piece of chicken and laid them out while I got the oil heated. I usually shallow fry the chicken , but I had some leftover oil from making donuts last week so I decided to use my deep fryer. I have trouble making sure the chicken was cooked all the way to the bone on the first try so I thought maybe the deep fryer would help. I followed the cooking directions from Paula Deen's fried chicken recipe and cooked them for 13 minutes, but I guess my pieces were bigger or something because my first pieces were not completely cooked through. Maybe the oil needed longer to heat or something because the rest of the pieces came out fine.

We served the chicken with baked beans and coleslaw, it was a really nice way to end the day.

Tuesday my kid wanted some tacos, in fact my older daughter was singing in the car "It is ta-co Tues-day!" and my younger daughter started crying and said, "I don't want tacos on Tuesday, I want them TODAY!" So tacos for sure!

Brown your ground beef with some chopped onions and drain off any fat, season the beef with some cumin, salt, pepper and chili powder. We warmed up some crunchy corn shells in the oven and served the tacos with yellow rice, grated cheese, shredded romaine lettuce and some lovely salsa.

Wednesday was gymnastics, so I needed an easy dinner. I read some recipes online for slow cooker ribs so I decided to make my own recipe with what I had on hand. I rinsed the ribs and cut them into 2 and 3 rib chunks and placed them in the slow cooker, I sprinkled them all over with BBQ rub. Over the top I poured a can of tomatoes that had onions and garlic, I sprinkled 1/4 C of brown sugar over the top, and poured on about 1/3 of the tomato can filled with apple cider vinegar. I hit the whole thing with a few dashes of hot sauce, turned on the slow cooker on high and let it go till dinner time, took 1 rack of ribs about 3 1/2 hours to cook. We served it with applesauce, steamed mixed vegetables, and the leftover yellow rice from Taco Tuesday.

Tonight is Thirsty Thursday, because it is still hot here and I am alllll about the cold drinks right now, this is a simple one. We used to make these things called "Italian Sodas" when I worked at a coffee shop, we;d take flavored syrups, mix them with seltzer water and serve them over ice. My favorite UNSWEETENED version of that is simply adding your favorite juice to a glass with ice (I like a cranberry juice) and then topping it off with seltzer and a slice of lime. Super refreshing and lovely. You can do this with any juice, flavored syrup or even make fizzy lemonade. I have no idea what I am going to make for dinner but I think it will be pasta based.

Have you ever seen those microwave pasta cookers advertised on television? I have seen them but always eyed them with suspicion because WHY would you make pasta in the microwave? Then as I was standing over a pot of boiling water the other night to make penne for my family in my un-airconditioned kitchen I thought, I wish I had one of those dang pasta cookers! I picked one up at Beall's Outlet over the weekend and it had a pink dot on it, which apparently made it 95% off. So I get to try the pasta cooker and it only cost me .22¢!

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