Thursday, April 23, 2009

Summer Food

My meal rotation has been working pretty good, a few kinks here and there (I had Beef Stroganoff and Shell Casserole in the same week, and they were pretty much the same thing, just that one was cooked in the crock pot).

But now that the weather's getting warmer, we need some lighter meals for more than one reason. Doug is back to eating more than one meal a day, which means he doesn't inhale the food at supper time. And I don't know why, but have either a casserole and vegetable, or a meat, side dish and vegetable is "going overboard" and tells me I don't need to do that much work. I just roll my eyes and tell him it's not that much work to steam some vegetables.

On to my point, though.

I'm looking for some good, light meals, and would love to hear your favorites. My husband's selective picky-ness rules out almost all of my favorites, which often include beans, tomato chunks, tuna, spinach...

Here's my favorite summer lunch:

Chicken Salad Sandwiches

2 c. cooked chicken, shredded
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/4 c. chopped walnuts
1/2 c. grapes (red or green), halved

Combine all ingredients and serve on bread or buns with lettuce.

What's yours?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Relaxation

I'm glad yesterday is over. The contractor lunch at the lumberyard wasn't tons of work, but I'm not cut out to be a party planner. Of course, if I was a party planner, I would have had more time to dedicate to thinking planning rather than just a few minutes here and there.

There wasn't a big turnout, so the contractors that came were well fed and we have over half of everything left. The meat is easy to freeze, and were were kind of planning on some extra to grill for the guys throughout the summer. The potato salad got divvied up and taken home since that won't keep long, and the chips are still in bags. But what to do with over 8 dozen each of brat buns and hamburger buns?

But I'm ready to relax.

Today is supposed to be nice, and I'm going to speed clean my house and make dessert for small group while the boy naps. I'll wake Henry up mid-afternoon so we can play outside and get really tired so he will go to bed a little early.

Next week is supposed to be sunny and in the 70s all week, so we are going to take it easy, help Doug get the deck finished (or at least make major progress), and enjoy taking in the sun and the fresh air and getting some exercise. I'm so ready for that!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Shortbread

I've done a lot of baking lately, and have been trying out a bunch of new recipes. I may try to catch up later, but there were a LOT of chocolate recipes we enjoyed, like World Peace Cookies and homemade chocolate pudding.

But yesterday I took a much-needed step back from the chocolate, and instead made Twice-Baked Shortbread which was really good. I got the recipe from a blog a while back, so I don't remember where I got it from.


Twice-Baked Shortbread

12 Tbsp. butter (1 1/2 sticks), melted and still warm
5 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
sugar for sprinkling

-Baking pan with removable bottom (9 1/2" round, 4x14" rectangle) greased, or 8" square baking dish lined with foil (leave overhang on two sides).

Combine melted butter with sugar, vanilla, and salt; add flour and mix just until incorporated. Press into bottom of prepared pan, and let rest for at least 2 hours (no need to refrigerate).

Place rack in lower 1/3 of oven and preheat to 300 F. Bake shortbread for 45 minutes. Take out and sprinkle with sugar; let cool for 10 minutes, leaving oven on. Remove from pan carefully and use a sharp thin knife cut it into squares/wedges/fingers. Places pieces slightly apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake 15 minutes. Cool on rack.


They were really good and a nice break from our usual super-sweet desserts. I did have a "Millionaire's Shortbread Bars" recipe which was topped with caramel and chocolate, but we'll save that for another time.

Today my afternoon will be spent in and out of the kitchen again. I have 175 brats to boil for our lunch at work tomorrow. I can fit about 2 dozen in my stock pot and about 1 1/2 dozen in my dutch oven, so only four more rounds to go. I'm sure I'll have a mess with all the times the water will boil over and piles of brats to be cooked and piles of brats cooling.

But at least I don't have to make supper tonight!