Monday, March 03, 2014

This Week's Menu

Last week was another busy week at our house but for the most part, we were able to stay on track menu wise. The PF Chang's Chicken was simply amazing as always and the rest of the week was pretty good too. 

This week will be another simple week (I seem to say that often) but it's true. I'll be on the go as always with the kiddos, Jason has come down with a cold and we're heading home this weekend so we need to prepare for that. 

Saturday: Steak with peppercorn sauce

Sunday: Supper at my mom's

Monday: Pasta with rose sauce Homemade soup for my sickly husband

Tuesday: Sausage with jasmine rice

Wednesday: Super Bean Burrito

Thursday: Pizza

Friday: Fast food

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tips and Tricks: Making gravy

       Sauce made from the drippings of cooked meat. Known for making all food delicious. 

Making gravy is super simple, but it occurred to me that not everyone knows how. These directions are for (a small) chicken gravy and I've even broken it down into steps for added simplicity. 

Step 1: Prepare the bird. 
In the bottom of my roasting pan, I put: 1/2 onion, 2 garlic cloves, 1 celery and 1 carrot; all cut into chunks. I then add two bay leaves, a carton of chicken broth (sodium reduced) and salt, thyme and lots of pepper on the chicken.

Step 2: Cook the bird.
Cook at 400F for 20-30 minutes uncovered, then cover and bake at 300F until cooked. (Times will vary depending on size of bird but I always give myself 3 hours, which is more then enough.) The bird is cooked when it has reached an internal temperature of 185F. It's usually doing the splits at this point.

Step 3: Separate the stock

Once the bird is cooked, remove from pan and tent it (place foil over top) on a plate so it can rest.  Remove the big bits from the stock and let the stock sit, so it will separate. The fat will float to the top, with the stock staying in the bottom.

Optional Step, part A:  Make a roux: Gently spoon out the fat and put in a small saucepan. Add in a tbsp or two of Bisto Savoury Gravy or you can simply use flour. Cook on medium heat for a couple minutes, whisking constantly. It may become chunky, that's normal but do not brown the flour if you go that route.
Optional Step, part B: Add in the remainder of your stock and continue heating, whisking frequently. Any chunks should disappear with the whisking. Bring to a gentle boil (you may need to turn down the heat). Proceed to step 5.

Step 4: Gently spoon off some of the fat and discard. Place stock in a sauce pan over medium heat, whisking frequently. Bring to a gentle boil. 

Step 5: Make a slurry: put a heaping tablespoon of cornstarch in a mug, add enough water to dissolve it completely (1/4 to 1/3 cup). Slowly pour small amounts of your cornstarch mixture into the stock while whisking. You'll notice it thicken as it boils. It must boil to thicken. If after adding all of your slurry, you find the gravy not thick enough, make more and add it in (just remember, the gravy will thicken slightly as it cools). 

Congratulations!! You've made gravy!! 

Monday, February 24, 2014

This Week's Menu

Last week I didn't do a menu post for a couple reasons: a) I forgot and b) it wasn't very exciting and changed a couple times. My lovely husband was out of town Wednesday and didn't have supper with us on Thursday so it made for simple, quick meals. Super simple actually, my mom took us out for supper on Wednesday! The other nights I made Lasagna, Super Bean Burritos (again) and Mac and Cheese.  

This week's menu will be as follows: 

Saturday: Salad with ground chicken in a taco bowl.
I can't get enough of the PF Chang's Lettuce Wraps recipe. I am seriously in love. Especially when I can get a pound of ground chicken for $4! Hello, cheap dinner!

Sunday: Whole chicken with mashed potatoes, stuffing, veg and gravy

Monday: Leftovers. With Cauliflower

Tuesday: Pizza with (hopefully) chicken on it

Wednesday: Pork chops with rice

Thursday: Pasta with rose sauce.
For this recipe I just skip the wine and use more broth.

Friday: TBA