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.

Friday’s Champagne Brunch

Hey Yall!  Sorry I haven’t posted lately, but I’ve been cooking “repeat meals”.  I cook something, then go to blog about it and I’ve already posted it!!

We went to a Brunch with a couple of my Navy wife friends (and husbands) today because we’re all starting to leave this crazy duty-station.   We ate all sorts of food, had too much champagne (well, I did at least!), and took a few pictures.  I’m gonna miss these girls like crazy!

Christina and Sarah

Christina, Sarah, and me

Me and Sarah

Me and Keith

Simmons’ Famous Fisherman’s Breakfast

Today we visited the Bahrain Fort and wore ourselves out.  When we got home, we wanted something warm and comforting for dinner.

I had 2 potatoes that seemed like they were about to go bad, so Keith suggested making the fisherman’s breakfast that he remembers his dad making for weekend breakfasts when he was growing up.

Here’s what I did:
I fried 4 pieces of bacon in a skillet, then once they were done I let them drain on a couple of paper towels. After they were “de-greased”, I chopped them up into small pieces.

Next, I diced up the potatoes and fried them in the bacon grease still in the skillet.  I “zapped” the potatoes in the microwave for a few minutes, so they’d fry up faster.  While they were frying in the skillet, I added a little herbs de Provence, onion powder, and pepper.

Once the potatoes were softened and sufficiently browned, I added 6 eggs that had been slightly beaten.  Scramble them around the potatoes with a spatula until they are cooked to your liking.

Next, add the bacon back to the skillet with the potatoes and eggs.  Mix it all up, then sprinkle some grated cheese over the top and remove the skillet from the heat.

Let the cheese melt, then serve up the fisherman’s breakfast in bowls.

Here are a few pictures from the Bahrain Fort from this afternoon.

Cake Mix Chocolate Chip Cookies

I was in the mood to bake today, but I only had about 3/4 cups of flour left, so I dug out a cookbook I got from some friends a couple of years ago for my birthday.

Here’s what ya do:
Take 1/2 of a box of yellow (or white) cake mix and blend it with 1/2 cup of butter, 2 eggs, and about a tablespoon of vanilla (the original recipe calls for 1 teaspoon, but I like vanilla in my cookies!).

After it’s all blended add the rest of the powdered cake mix and 1 bag of chocolate chips. The book calls for you to use 1 6oz bag of chocolate chips, but I dumped a big 12oz bag of chips in, so they’re extra chocolate chip-y.

Plop 1 tablespoon blobs on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for about 15-20 minutes at 350*F (175*C).

After you take them out of the oven, let them cool on the cookie sheet before you move them to the racks.

When Keith ventured into the kitchen to check if the first batch of cookies was done, he looked at them still in the oven and quoted Calvin and Hobbs “Repent sinners, the end is near!”  It’s from the comic strip where the snowmen are melting.  He said the cookies looked like snowmen melting.

Just like my Brown Sugar Blondies, make sure you have a big glass of milk ready!

Brown Sugar Blondies

When I was taking stock of my pantry a few weeks ago, I discovered I had 2 boxes of brown sugar that hadn’t been opened (among other things)!  So I found a recipe that used 2 cups of it!

Here’s what I did:
I melted 1 cup of butter (by the way, this recipe is not healthy in any way, shape or form!) in a microwave safe bowl, then added 2 cups of brown sugar, 2 teaspoons of vanilla, and 2 eggs.  I made sure they were all mixed together and mixed in 2 cups of flour, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, a dash of salt, and 2 cups of chocolate chips.

Once everything is all mixed up it’ll be a really thick dough.  Now, dump it into a VERY well greased 9×13 pan and bake it at 350*F (175*C) for about 25 minutes.  I had to bake mine for about 30 minutes, but that’s probably because I kept opening the oven door to check on em!

After they’re cooled off, cut them up into about 12 squares.  Before you start snacking on them, make sure you have a nice tall glass of milk handy!


Grandma’s Spicy Crackers

Keith and I went camping with a couple of friends last night and in anticipation of the event, I made Spicy Crackers.  Several years ago, my grandma made these when she came to visit and once I moved away from home, I begged my mom to get the “recipe”.

Photo courtesy of Hannah. I forgot our camera at home.

Here’s what ya do:
Take one bag of Triscuits (my version) or Saltine (grandma’s version) crackers and pour them into a gallon freezer baggie.  Don’t get one of the regular baggies because somehow or another, the oil always gets through…

Next, measure out 1 1/3 cups of oil (I use olive, but veggie oil is okay too), 3 tablespoons of red pepper flakes, you know, the kind that comes with the pizza delivery.  Then add in 1 packet of dry ranch dressing mix.  Stir it all up together, then pour the mixture into the bag with your crackers.  You can adjust the amount of pepper flakes according to how spicy you like your food.

Seal up the bag and mush the mixture around the crackers. Let the baggie set on one side for about 6-8 hours, then turn it over and let the mixture move through the crackers to the other side for about 6 more hours.  The longer they soak, the more the oil mixture is absorbed into the crackers. I wouldn’t recommend letting them soak for more than 24 hours though…

Fluffy French Toast

When Keith got home from work today, we decided that french toast sounded good for dinner.  I didn’t want the “regular” french toast that I always make, so I found a recipe for fluffy french toast.

Here’s what I did (I tweaked it a little):
Measure out 2 teaspoons and 2 tablespoons of flour into a shallow pie pan.  Slowly whisk in 2/3 of a cup of milk.

Next, add in 2 eggs, a dash of salt and cinnamon.  Then add in 2 teaspoons of brown sugar.

Dip each slice of bread into the egg mixture and cook them in a skillet.  We had enough batter for about 5 slices of bread.

The french toast was pretty good, but it wasn’t spectacular.

BisQUICK Doughnuts

The movers are coming for our pack out in about 10 days, so I’m trying to squeeze in all my “fun” recipes before they pack up most of my kitchen stuff.

We used our counter-top deep fryer for home made french fries the other night, so we still had all that oil in there that could be used again.  I decided to find a recipe for doughnuts.  Most of the recipes called for yeast and letting the dough rise for several hours, but I didn’t want it to be an all day project so I turned to Bisquick! 🙂

Here’s what I did:
Mix 2 cups of Bisquick, 2 tablespoons of sugar, a dash of allspice and cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, 1 egg, and 1/4 cup of milk together in a bowl.  It will turn out to be a VERY VERY sticky ball of dough!  Before you abandon your fork for your hands, I would recommend greasing (or buttering) your hands so the dough doesn’t stick as badly.

Next, turn out your dough onto a floured surface. I will reiterate this once more, the dough is VERY VERY sticky, so make sure there is plenty of flour on it.  I would go so far as to recommend sprinkling your dough with flour before you remove it from the bowl!

Now, the recipe calls for you to knead the dough, but I didn’t do that step and the doughnuts turned out just fine, so if you forget that step don’t panic!

Keith being a cheerful helper.

Cut out doughnut shaped circles with a cookie cutter.  I don’t have any circular cookie cutters, so I used a round tupperware dish for the outside circle, then the removable piece of my blender lid for the little circle!  The doughnuts probably were bigger than the recipe expected but they still tasted the same….

After you get your doughnuts cut out, plop em in the 375*F oil for 30 second on each side.  Then let them drain on paper towels.

The recipe suggested that you shake them in a cinnamon sugar mixture to coat them.  We did that with our little doughnut holes, but Keith opted to spread Nutella on his.

The doughnuts turned out to be a fun recipe for a semi-lazy morning. They definitely tasted like Bisquick, but overall they were pretty darn good! I think we’ll make them again once we get settled in Virginia.

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!