Category Archives: Dinner

Slow-Cooker Pot Roast and an update!

I hope I can remember how to do this blogging thing!  It’s been a crazy past couple of months…In February, we had a house-hunting trip to Virginia, returned to Bahrain in the middle of protests, then a week after I was back home the Navy approved voluntary departure and we decided to take them up on it!  SO, I was shuttled back to Virginia and got settled into our wonderful rental house with an air mattress and 2 suitcases.

My mom came out for a week to help me clean and paint the house.  We worked our little behinds off! Here are a few pictures of the house:

So, in order: the laundry room, our kitchen, the master bedroom, our future office, the den (in the process of being put together), and now our backyard.  We have a few extra bedrooms that haven’t been photographed yet…

Now that some of our household goods have been delivered, I have my kitchen stuff and I can cook again! WHOO HOO! 🙂

NOW, onto the pot roast:

I took a small bag of baby carrots and layered them along the bottom of the crock-pot, added some potato chunks, a thinly sliced onion and 3 crushed cloves of garlic.  Next, I added a 2 pound bottom round roast and poured an envelope of onion soup mix over it.  Then, I poured a 1/2 cup of chicken broth over it.  The original recipe called for beef broth, but I prefer chicken broth.

I put the crock-pot to cook for 11.5 hours on low before I headed for bed and woke up to a wonderful smelling kitchen! When I woke up, everything was the same color and didn’t look very photogenic but it sure was tasty!!


Orange Juice Pork Chops and Roasted Red Potatoes

While living in a Muslim culture, it’s hard to find pork products off base, so I try to “splurge” and cook pork chops once a month.  Since today is Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d try something a little different.  I emailed my mom to get her special orange juice pork chop recipe.  I remember her standing at the stove and the kitchen filling with the smell of orange juice.  I also cooked my dad’s red potatoes as a veggie.

Here’s what I did with the pork chops:
I  dredged the thawed pork chops in a mixture of flour, salt, and pepper while about 4 tablespoons of oil was preheating in the skillet.

Once the oil was preheated, I cooked the pork chops until the internal temperature was 165*F which is hot enough to kill the bacteria. While the pork chops were cooking, I mixed 1 1/2 cups of orange juice and 1 tablespoon of brown sugar together in a bowl.

After the chops were fully cooked, I lowered the heat and added the orange juice mixture to the skillet and covered it with a lid.  Let the juice simmer in the skillet until it is thickened.

Keith waiting patiently for his dinner to be ready.

Here’s what I did with the potatoes:
I washed 3 medium red potatoes and cut them into small pieces.  I layered them in a single layer in a casserole dish and sprinkled the potatoes with salt and pepper.  I dotted them with about 6 tablespoons of butter.

Next, I popped the dish in a 350*F (175*) oven and let them cook til they were tender on the inside and crispy on the outside edges.

Enchilada Nachos

A few weeks ago, I “took inventory” of my pantry and noticed that I had a can of enchilada sauce. Now, I’m not quite sure why I bought the can because I haven’t been able to find corn tortillas to make any enchiladas in about 18 months!

So I started looking online for meals to use the enchilada sauce.  The only recipes I found were how to MAKE enchilada sauce….and I certainly didn’t need any of those!

I ended up making nachos with the sauce drizzled on top of them last night for dinner.  It was a bit of an experiment, but Keith didn’t know that and he liked em!

We ate em right off the baking sheet!

Here’s what I did:
I layered tortilla chips on a baking sheet (I used the little scooper chips), then sprinkled grated cheese over them.  I used a cheddar and Monterey jack block of cheese I shredded myself because the Mexican blend bag of cheese is $7 at the exchange and I refuse to pay that much for cheese!!

ANYWAY, after I sprinkled the  cheese, I cut up some leftover chicken breasts into itty-bitty pieces and sprinkled them over the cheesy chips.  After that, I drizzled the enchilada sauce over it all.  The can I had was the Hot kind, and that’s usually way too hot for me, but I think it was the perfect heat level for the nachos.

After I had loaded everything on the chips, I stuck the tray into a preheated 350*F (175*C) oven to melt the cheese and heat everything up.

The nachos tasted a lot like enchiladas, but with just a little extra crispiness.  And it only took about 40 minutes to prepare and devour it all! I think they would make a great appetizer, but they were a great dinner too!

Turkey Baked Ziti

I’ve been trying to empty my freezer, but I had about 5 pounds of turkey to use up, so I “googled” casseroles that used ground turkey.  Robin Miller from the Food Network has a great recipe that uses sweet turkey sausage, so I based my dish off of that recipe but I tweaked it to fit the things that I had in my kitchen already.

Here’s what I did:
I got Keith to brown a pound of turkey while I boiled a box of ziti pasta noodles.  After the turkey was browned, I added 2 cans of stewed tomatoes. I used the “plain” flavor of stewed tomatoes, but I think that the other flavors would be good too.  I also added a big spoon full of spaghetti sauce for extra flavor, then let it simmer for about 5 minutes or so.

The meat sauce simmering

While I was letting the meat sauce simmer, I mixed together a 15 oz container of fat-free ricotta cheese and a small package of mozzarella  cheese.  The package said it was 200 grams, but the recipe from the Food Network called for 4 cups, so it’s really up to you how much you choose to use.  I also added 1 tablespoon of garlic powder as well.

The ricotta cheese mixture is mixed.

After everything was prepared (the pasta drained, the meat sauce, and the cheese mixture), I put a little sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 pan.  The original recipe called for a 4 quart casserole dish, but I was able to fit everything in a 9×13 dish and a 6 inch round dish.  I poured in just enough sauce to barely coat the bottom of the pan so that the noodles wouldn’t stick and burn.

The yummy noodles (and my hand).

Next, I layered half of the noodles. Then, I added half of the cheese mixture.  After that, I layered more sauce, noodles, and cheese. Last, I layered the rest of the meat sauce to cover the whole kit and kaboodle.  Robin’s recipe called for mozzarella and parmesan cheese to be sprinkled on top, but I forgot to set aside any mozzarella cheese, so I ended up with just parmesan cheese on top.

Keith sprinkling the parmesan cheese.

I baked the dish for about 30 minutes at 350*F (175*C) while it was covered with foil.  Then I uncovered it and baked for 15 more minutes.

After letting it “set” for about 10 minutes after baking time, we dug in!

Shepards Pie

I’m starting to “pantry cook” since all of our household goods have been packed away and I don’t want to have to give away too much food before we leave.  I have planned out a menu for 2 weeks where all I had to buy was some mozzarella and ricotta cheese.  I planned it, now lets see if I’ll cook it!  The first meal I made was Shepards Pie that is loosely based on Rachael Ray’s version.  I used a few of the spices that she suggested, but that’s about it. I was a little doubtful that it would be a famous “30-minute meal”, but sure enough, it was!

I forgot to take a picture with the mashed potatoes on top, but
I figure you can imagine what mashed potatoes would look like on top!

Here’s what I did:
I cooked 3 slices of bacon in the skillet and then cut them up into about 1 inch pieces.  In the same skillet, I browned a pound of ground turkey.

After the turkey was browned, I added the bacon to it and let it cook a little longer. I also added a little onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, salt, pepper, and some worcestershire sauce to the skillet.

When everything was heated up, I added about 1/2 of a bag of mixed veggies and a cup of corn. I turned the heat back up to high and let the veggies cook a little.

While the veggies were heating, I made some mashed potatoes in the microwave from my box of potato flakes.

Once the mashed potatoes were cooked, I scooped a serving of the meat mixture into a bowl and heaped a big spoonful of mashed potatoes on top of it.

I added a small bowl of applesauce and it made for a simple and quick meal!

It’s a rare gloomy day in the Kingdom of Bahrain!

Corn Nuggets

We’ve been in Bahrain for about 21 months, and my craving for my favorite chicken place, Chicken Express, is starting to get out of control. I really miss the corn nuggets that they have on the menu.  Corn nuggets are hushpuppy sized nuggets of deep fried sweet corn.

I dug around on  the internet and found this recipe.  It’s not quite the same, but it’s pretty darn close…

Here’s what you do:

In a medium bowl, sift 2 cups of flour with 1 tablespoon of baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 cup of sugar.

In a large bowl, mix 1/4 cup of melted butter with 1 cup of milk, and 2 eggs that have been slightly beaten.

Now, fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until they’re mixed together.  Then, add in 1 1/2 cups of corn.  I used frozen corn that was defrosted, but I’m sure canned corn that’s been drained would work well too.

After everything is mixed into a batter, I turned it over to Keith.

He  dropped the batter by tablespoons into the deep fryer that he had preheated to 350*F.  He fried the little nuggets of goodness until they were golden brown.   After they fried, he put them on a cookie rack covered with paper towels to drain the grease.

The batter made quite a few nuggets, so I think we’ll be snacking on them for the rest of the night.

Texas Caviar

For New Year’s Eve, Keith and I had a couple of friends over and one of the things I made was Texas Caviar. If you haven’t ever heard of it, it’s basically a bean salad that you can eat with tortilla chips.

Here’s what you do:
Drain and rinse 2 cans of black-eyed peas and 1 can of black beans. Then put them in a medium sized mixing bowl and add 1 can of corn (I used 2 cups of frozen corn).

Next, dice up 1 red and 1 green bell pepper and one purple onion (I used half of an onion I had in the fridge). Put that in the bowl with the beans.  Sprinkle it with cilantro and celery salt.

Pour in one whole bottle of Italian salad dressing (I used the wishbone brand of dressing).  Add salt and pepper to season it to taste.

Then let it set overnight or at least a few hours for all the flavors to mix together.  It’s super simple to make and everybody loves it!

Miracle Soup

For the past few days, I’ve been wanting to make soup. And I finally did! It started out as a clean-out-the-pantry-and-get-rid-of-all-eight-million-cans-of-beans soup.

Apparently, my experiment was a total success because I just got an email from Keith at work: “OOOOOHHH MMYYYY GGOOOODDDDNNEESSSSSS!!!!! That soup was so good! Every piece of bread I dipped in it came out so wonderful. Thank you (bowing low on my knees to you) Thank you!!!!” I’m assuming that he liked it.   🙂

Here’s what I did:
Take 3 cans of beans (I used 2 cans of pintos and a can of black beans), drain and rinse them, then pour them into your slow-cooker.  Add 2 cups of corn (I used frozen corn), 1 can of Ro-Tel, 3 cups of chicken broth, and a pound of ground turkey (I’m sure you can use any kind of ground meat, but we have 5 pounds of ground turkey in the freezer!).

Let your slow cooker cook on high for about 3 hours.  Once it’s reached that amount of time, add in 4 slices of roughly chopped bacon and the grease that it gave off.  I know it’s completely unhealthy, but it sure does add a ton of flavor.  Next, add about 3 tablespoons of herbs de provence and a few sprinkles of salt.

Let the soup cook for about 45 more minutes.  Once it does, serve it up and get ready for some compliments!

If you aren’t a slow-cooker owner, I’m sure you can do this in a soup pot on the stove.  Just cook everything in the same order, but on medium high heat for probably and hour or so…I haven’t ever tried to convert a recipe from a slow-cooker to stove top so if you try, let me know how it works out!

Honey Ham Glaze

We decided to have a ham for our Christmas Dinner yesterday.  Keith and I bought a precooked honey ham from the exchange and I was a little nervous about cooking my first ham.

I cooked my 8 pound ham for about 65 minutes and then put a glaze on it and it turned out FANTASTIC!!

Here’s what I did:
Mix 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar with 6 tablespoons of melted butter.  Stir in 8 tablespoons and “drizzle” it over the ham.  Cover it and stick it back in the oven for about 15 more minutes or until your mouth starts watering!

My wonderful husband, Keith, working his magic with the ham!

Merry Christmas, Y’all!


Pea Salad

Hey Yall!  Sorry it’s been quite a while since I’ve posted…I just haven’t been feeling that blog-ish lately.  But, I’m back now with some pea salad.

Growing up, I had never heard of pea salad. During college in Deep East Texas, I still hadn’t ever heard of it.  I was introduced to pea salad during a lunch break with a co-worker at one of my previous jobs and I’ve been hooked on it ever since! It’s amazing that I’ve never heard of it because it’s just a simple dish!

Here’s what ya do:
Hard-boil (see note below) and peel 3 eggs.  After they’re peeled, chop em up into 12 pieces each.  You can use as many eggs as you want.  I boiled 3, but only put 1 3/4 in the salad because Keith isn’t that big of a fan of hard-boiled eggs.

While the eggs are boiling, chop up about a half of a block of Cheddar cheese.  You can be fancy and use a different kind of cheese, but in my experience plain ol’ cheddar works the best.

Next, chop half of a purple onion and dump it in the bowl with the cheese and egg pieces.  Then, pour in 15 oz of peas. You can use the canned peas, but make sure they’re drained before you mix em in. I used 1/2 of a bag of frozen petite peas I found at the exchange today.

Some of the recipes that I referenced online called for 1/4 cup of Miracle Whip to be used as the “glue”, but I found that it wasn’t nearly enough for a creamy pea salad! I probably added about 2/3 of a cup to my bowl.

Stir all of your ingredients together GENTLY.  You don’t want the peas to break and fall apart…that would just be gross.

After that step, you can put the pea salad in the fridge to let the flavors set.  If you choose to do that, make sure you put the salad in an airtight container (not a baggie) unless you want your whole refrigerator to smell like onions!

A note on hard-boiling eggs:  I have never figured out how to boil eggs without that neat little egg shaped timer that you put in the pan with the eggs and boiling water.  You know the one I’m talking about right?  Well, I finally figured out the secret after looking it up on the internet several times!  Put your eggs in a saucepan and cover them with cold or room temperature water.  Put the pan on the burner, and just as soon as the water starts to boil, remove it from the heat, cover it, and let it stand for about 15-20 minutes.  After the time is up, move the eggs to a bowl filled with cold water and let the eggs cool completely (I stick the bowl in the fridge)!