Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Keep It Simple!

Sorry, it's been awhile since I posted here...but it is a little hard to cook when you are in bed! I am now almost five weeks post-op, and feeling pretty good, though I still feel it if I am working too hard.

I know that a lot of you have mentioned in the past how hard it is to get a good, filling dinner on the table that everyone will eat. I encourage you to keep it simple! Start a card file or a note book with your family's favorite meals, and start a two week rotation. As you add to the meals you all love, you may be able to break it down by seasons, with your soups, stews and casseroles for the cooler months, and salads, grilling and lighter fare for the warmer months. Again...keep it simple - this is not rocket science ladies!

That said, I wanted to share another COTF meal with you. While I was recovering from my back surgery, a friend brought over a roast for dinner. We had lots in the fridge at the time, so I froze it, and last night pulled it out for a quick-thaw dinner.

We had a good bit left over, so this am I got inspired to play...I diced the roast into bite sized pieces and set it aside. In a large oven-proof pot (my darling, my dear husband bought me a cast iron/enamel lined dutch oven for Christmas...sigh...) I heated a few tablespoons of olive oil and I sliced one large white onion, the heart of a bunch of celery, four large carrots, one leek and four cloves of garlic. I put the lid on this so that it could steam, then added 2-3 T dried rosemary, salt and pepper. Then I dumped in the beef, and covered it with 4-5 cups of red wine. Taadaa!! That's it. Covered it and put it into a 250 degree oven. (*) Tonight, by 6 p.m., we should have a tasty melange (don't you love that word?!) of beef and slow cooked veggies.

The key to a meal like this is to use what YOU have. You could add any kinds of veggies or meats you have in the fridge. This would also have been good with potatoes and acorn squash, or mushrooms and chicken. If you have NO idea of what flavors go together, then check out this awesome book...it is chock full of food combinations, for great flavors every time! http://www.amazon.com/Flavor-Bible-Essential-Creativity-Imaginative/dp/0316118400

Have fun in your kitchen today, and make some memories with your family!

* P.S. About two hours in, I added two juice glasses of water to the pot. Then about the time I pulled it out of the oven, I did two more juice glasses with cool water and 2-3 T cornstarch per glass, mixing it together well, then added that to pot, stirring all the time. The cornstarch thickened the gravy and I have to say, this was one of the best stews I have ever made!! Served this yummy stew with home baked bread and butter - YUM!

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