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Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Be Still....

This blog is usually my place to share my favorite recipes, to share food memories of my childhood, share my food experiments!  I've been a bit rattled by this COVID-19 emergency as I know many of  you have.  It has brought clarity to what is most important in my life.   

Once, years ago, I had a personal crisis.  I was heartbroken and wondered why it had happened.  I read this scripture and in my mind I heard God say to me "Joy, settle down.  I've got this."  I felt peace.   

I love going to the mountains.  In them, I see God's strength and power.  I feel close to Him there.  Combining a favorite place with a favorite scripture was a therapeutic exercise for me today.

God bless you as you turn to Him and find therapeutic activities that bring you peace! 

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Dressed up Skillet Avocado Eggs

Hi there! 
Thanks for dropping by.

I am currently working on eating healthier and moving more to help with some of those health issues that sneak up as you age.  Fatigue, weight, stiff joints.  I know some of you totally understand about that!  I complain to my Dad once in a while (he will be 94 in a few months) and he always says "Well Joy, you ain't seen nothin' yet!"  Bwahaha!  Nothing like things getting put in perspective!

So, I am creating a new little section on my blog for my Adventures in Healthy Eating.  This is my first attempt at creating a recipe in that genre - this year.  There are other healthy recipes on my blog but many of them are my childhood comfort foods or ones that were used as we raised a large family on a little budget.  Those are special occasion foods!

I kept seeing these lovely Baked Avocado Egg recipes.  They look delicious.  But I am a tad lazy  and impatient and heating the whole oven up to 425 and waiting 20 minutes didn't appeal to me.  So I adjusted that into a frying pan meal.   I thought it turned out delicious and the eye appeal worked well for me. I think I would like baby spinach in this but I didn't have that on hand this morning.  Maybe next time!  Definitely added to my regular meal plan!  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

I used a 6 inch cast iron skillet, but you use whatever small skillet you have.  Oh, and the zucchini!  Use the small store size, not the end-of-the-season-large-as-your-forearm ones.  If I only had the large ones I'd cut it in chunks instead.

Dressed Up Skillet Avocado Eggs 

2-4 T. diced onion
8-10 1/4 inch zucchini slices
1 large mushroom, sliced (I prefer Crimini) 
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 medium avocado, pitted and coaxed out of the skin all in one piece
2 eggs
1/8 C. diced fresh tomato
salt and pepper to taste

Heat skillet and add olive oil and onion and saute' a minute on medium-medium low heat.  Add zucchini slices and mushroom and saute until they begin to soften... just a couple of minutes.  Shake a little salt and pepper on those as they cook.  Scoot those veggies toward the sides enough to make room to set the avocado half in the center.  Crack each egg onto the veggies beside the avocado.  Salt and pepper.  Add 1 tablespoon of water to your pan, quickly place a lid on it (to start catching the steam) and turn the heat to low.  Set a timer for 2-3 minutes for a soft yolk, up to 5 for a hard one.   Using a spatula, gently scoot your dish out onto a plate.  Add diced tomatoes in the center of the avocado.  Enjoy!

Joy's Notes:  I have a gas stove and using a cast iron skillet this cooks different than it would on an electric stove in a regular pan.  Play with it a little and you'll figure out what times and temperatures you need on YOUR stove!

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Roasted Fresh Tomato Soup

It is nearing the end of tomato season here.  A few days ago we had our first hard frost.  This year we've had a bumper crop of tomatoes!  I think I've picked about 2-3 bushel so far and there's at least another bushel on the plants we covered to protect a little longer from frost.

I love to eat tomatoes fresh, and one of my most favorite garden treats is a tomato sandwich!  Tender slices of homemade bread spread with mayo, and thick slices of ripened garden tomato sprinkled with salt.  YUMMMMY! My next favorite use of fresh tomatoes is Aunt Lois's Marinated Tomatoes... so tangy!  A perfect accompaniment for a summer meal.

What we don't eat fresh I bottle.  My family loves salsa and I love Best Ever Canned Salsa as it can be as mild or hot as you like (we prefer mild) and makes several pints.  We also like homemade Chili Sauce and can some of that to put on meats and potatoes.... an old fashioned treat.  

This delicious tomato soup recipe came from a friend several years ago.  At least the base of it did.  I tend to do my own thing with recipes.  The seeds and skin left in can leave a small amount of chewy texture, but I prefer that and it makes it much easier than separating those seeds!   I love this soup with a drizzle of cream and croutons or a grilled cheese sandwich on homemade bread.    Enjoy!

Fresh Roasted Tomato Soup

12 large, ripe tomatoes, quartered

1/4 C. balsamic vinegar

1/4 C. olive oil

1 large onion, sliced

2-3 T. minced garlic (more if you love garlic - I use the minced garlic you can buy in the store)

1 C. fresh basil leaves (I sometimes use the freeze dried basil)

1/4 C. butter

1 can chicken broth (or 1 1/2 cups of water with 1 heaped tsp. dry bouillon) 

1 C. heavy whipping cream

Garlic toast, chunky salad croutons, French Bread or other dippers.

Turn oven on to 500 degrees.  Line a large cookie sheet with foil.  Place tomatoes in a single layer on foil and sprinkle with vinegar and oil.   Place in oven and roast for 30-40 minutes or until some of the skins start to blacken.  Remove from oven.

While tomatoes are roasting, saute onion and garlic in butter until onion is translucent and tender.  Add basil leaves and saute just a minute longer until they are limp.

When tomatoes are done, combine with onion mixture and put in blender until blended smooth.  Place back in pan, add chicken broth, and salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle into bowls, drizzle heavy whipping cream on top, add croutons or bread if desired.  

Makes 6 nice servings. (many more if your kids eat like my Wesley...  he only uses tomato soup for dipping grilled cheese.  Once the sandwich is gone, that's it.  1/3 C. servings are plenty for others who only dip! lol )

Joy's Notes:  Sometimes we also top our bowls with shredded cheddar.   Different varieties of tomatoes produce sweeter or tangier soup.  If you'd like your soup tangier, add a splash more of the balsamic vinegar, if you prefer it more sweet, you can add up to 1 tsp. of sugar.  

Friday, January 12, 2018

Baked Chicken and Rice

When I was growing up, most of the time Mom fixed meals using foods we grew in the garden and meat we had raised.  Most meals were meat and potato meals.  Usually four items on our plates at dinner:  Meat, potatoes, vegetable, and some sort of salad. Most always a dessert accompanied that, often though it was a bowl of home canned fruit.  Once in a great while, Mom would make a casserole or dinner using ingredients we had to buy such as cheese, pasta, or rice.  It was such a treat to have a meal out of the norm. 

One of the dishes Mom would occasionally make for Sunday dinner was Chicken and Rice.  So easy to put together and throw in the oven to cook while you do other things.  This dish is such a comfort food for me!  Creamy, warm, delicious!  I'm not sure where she got the recipe, but the original name was Busy Day Chicken.  

I buy whole chickens and cut them up into 10 pieces for this, or sometimes I buy chicken leg quarters and cut those apart.  It depends on which is the best price per pound.  I've tried using boneless/skinless breasts and I don't like it nearly as well.  The fat from the skin really flavors the rice.  However, if you're really watching fats, the boneless/skinless breasts will work.  This time I used a pack of thighs I found in the reduced bin.  Perfect!

Chicken and Rice

1 fryer cut up or 6-8 other pieces of chicken

1 10.5 oz can cream of mushroom soup (condensed)
1 1/2 soup cans of water
1 pkg. dry onion soup mix OR 2 T. bulk onion soup and dip mix
1 C. long grain rice

Scatter the uncooked rice in the bottom of a greased 9x13 pan. Sprinkle with a few shakes of salt.  Set chicken pieces on top of rice.  Mix mushroom soup, onion soup and water together.  Pour over chicken.  Cover with foil and bake at 325 for 2 hours.  Uncover the last 25 minutes to allow browning.  

Joy's Notes:   This recipe freezes well after it's cooked so if you're cooking for a smaller group it's easy to portion off and free in individual servings OR do the recipe in 2 8x8 pans.  I've also used a deeper dish and doubled the rice and soup mixture.