MJ Monday: Meals-Carol’s Casserole

Welcome to 2019! I’m shaking up my blog a bit this year. Mondays are now MJ Monday…where I talk about food, music, movies, my manuscript in progress, and motivation. This week is the debut of MJ’s Meals.

One of my retreat friends has been on a very restrictive diet, so when we were planning a recent retreat, we had to take her food situation under consideration. I love the challenge of finding and/or creating a meal that meets the affected one’s needs.

I had some leftover garlic scapes, which my friend could have. The only kind of oil she was allowed was olive oil. So the first thing I did was harvest chives (another food she could eat) and add them to the garlic scapes in my blender and pulverized them.

Then I added the pulp to olive oil in glass jar (my husband doesn’t understand my need to save glass jars with excellent lids on them).

I placed the concoction in the refrigerator for a week.  After the week was up, I strained the oil through a fine mesh tea strainer.

Voila! My very own garlic infused oil.

I dusted some chicken breasts with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika and sautéed them in olive oil.  I find pre-cooking as much as I can when going on retreat is the way to go.

On the evening it was my turn to cook dinner, I cubed the precooked chicken and added it to diced sweet potatoes, a sliced sweet onion, and chunks of red bell pepper, all of which were on my friend’s OK-to-eat list. I drizzled in the infused olive oil and mixed it well.

Forty minutes later (in a 400F oven), we had our very first Carol Casserole.

It’s a keeper.

#CrackpotTheory: Color, Food, & the Weather

I love bright  colorsI hate “tasteful” décor: ecru, beige, eggshell, and other shades of brown and white;  deep greens; dark reds. Who gets to decide what’s tasteful? Please!

One thing I’ve noticed is cultures that indulge in bright colors also tend to eat spicier foods. Foods with flavor. Full of taste. Yes, I know curry was invented to hide the taste of rotting food–but so was mayonnaise.

Other correlations I’ve noticed is that cultures with bright colors and spicy foods tend to be in warmer climates. They also seem to be closer to their emotions–more aware of their passions and unafraid to show them.

Color makes me happy. Spicy food makes me happy. Hot summer days make me happy (you can keep the humidity). Maybe I need to move.

 

 

 

 

Recipe: State Fair Pasta

I love to cook. I’m not such a hot baker, but cooking? I do okay.

Here’s one of my favorite concoctions.

Slice Italian sausage (I prefer sweet, but hot will do just fine) and place in a large frying pan and start cooking.

Take 1 sweet onion and two bell peppers (I’m not a fan of green peppers, so I use yellow and red), and cut them into strips.

Cook the sausage thoroughly. When it is done, DO NOT drain the grease from the pan.

Add the sliced veggies to the frying pan. Mix well.

Turn the heat to medium and COVER THE PAN. This is very important. You do not want the juices from the vegetables to evaporate into the air, but to mingle with the sausage grease to form a sauce.

Cook your favorite pasta. I think spirals work best with this sauce.

Stir the veggies occasionally. Let the veggies cook down until they are about half the size they were when raw.

You will have a juicy mix of sausage, peppers, and onions that smells exactly like a sunny day at the State Fair.

Drain the pasta when it’s done, then place in large bowl. Top with the sausage, peppers, and onions and all the liquid from the frying pan.  Mix well.

Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.

 

Cast Iron

I hang out on Facebook a lot. I like it there. It’s a great way to stay in touch with people. One of the things I see on a regular basis is a photo of a cast iron frying pan and the question, “Have you ever used one of these?”

My answer: the only thing I don’t use cast iron for is cooking pasta, because it takes too long for the water to come to a boil.

Behold: my pans and pans.

Happy Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day 2018

Yes! It’s National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day again. I’m still addicted, but I have changed my recipe a little since last year.

Instead of using regular butter, I now use Chef Shamy Garlic Butter with Parmesan and Basil. Yes, I order this from Amazon because no store in my area carries it. One of my cousins (God bless my cousins!) posted about this product on Facebook last year. Thank you, Kevin!

Grilled cheese sandwiches with roasted red pepper and tomato soup have became a staple on the dinner table at my house.

How do you like your grilled cheese?