Tuesday, May 31, 2016

GFP Day 37 - Bruschetta Burgers

A few months back we went to a restaurant and I had a bruschetta burger. It was really good.  We had leftover focaccia bread and plenty of hamburger in the freezer. 

Got a pound of burger out to defrost. 

John started the bruschetta. He chopped a tomato. 

He added a little onion, garlic and basil. Then John topped it with a balsamic vinaigrette.  Also plenty of salt and pepper. It takes more than you think. 

Finally, some Parmesan cheese. 

We put it in the fridge to flavor up. 

We sliced and buttered the focaccia. A little toasting to make it extra tasty.  

Burgers in the hot pan with a little salt and pepper.  

A bubbly layer of fresh mozzarella. 

A delicious and tasty burger. 

Sunday, May 29, 2016

GFP Day 35 and 36 - Smokin'!!

Today and yesterday were for making some serious freezer space. After putting the smoker together John was anxious to get it smoking. 

He got out brisket that he'd promised his sisters last fall. 

He started by breaking it down. Then trimming the excess fat off.  

After adding his rub and getting the smoker going it is just about time. After about 6 hours smoking with hickory wood, we wrap it in foil and finish it in 250-degree heat until the internal temp hits 190. You can tell it's ready when the thermometer goes in like a knife in hot butter. 

Dewey was loving the juices that were dripping down. 

John sliced it up and we delivered the brisket to his sisters Monday morning. 

When we got home it was time for chicken and turkey. John had started it brining Sunday night. It makes the meat so moist and flavorful. 

We had a turkey breast we got for 99 cents a pound. Also a bunch of chicken legs and a whole chicken. 

After just four hours the skin was smoky and brown. 

We split the whole chicken so it would lay flat and take up less room. It was falling off the bone. 

A little potato salad and a delicious Memorial Day meal. And we got a lot out of the freezer. 

But, ironically, we won't be able to come close to eating all this smoked goodness. So, you guessed it. It has to go back in the freezer. 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

GFP Day 34 - Ultimate Italian Sausage

How busy our weekend is impacts how much work goes into our dinner. Today was very busy. We had an appointment at 8 am, quick breakfast out and John had to work a couple hours. Then stops at three stores and home to meet the air conditioning fix-it dude to see why it wasn't cooling. 

Then John decided that we needed to put together the smoker that's been acting as our temporary coffee table. 

According to the directions it would take fifteen minutes to assemble. More like 45 and only three or twelve curse words. 

Now it is seasoning kind of like a cast iron skillet so John can smoke meat. 

So dinner was simple. 

We warmed up some leftover manicotti. 

And out of the freezer, ultimate Italian sausage. 

We got a bunch of these different sausages when Fresh Thyme opened. It was $1.97 a pound and there were a lot of different pork and chicken sausages. 

Just went in the pan with a little olive oil.  

In no time they were beautiful. 

A little Parmesan and a quick and easy dinner. And room for some of that vegan ice cream. 

Friday, May 27, 2016

GFP Day 33 - Shrimp Scampi

Jo wanted shrimp scampi, and we've got some big shrimp in the freezer. Let's do it! The ingredients...

Jumbo shrimp, lemon juice, some dry white wine, a diced shallot, and about 10 diced garlic cloves. 

Melt 2 TBSP butter in 2 TBSP olive oil over medium-high heat. 

Sauté the shallot and garlic. I threw in some red pepper flakes for a little heat, too. 

Sauté a couple minutes, then remove from the pan. 

Meantime, the pasta (we're using spaghetti tonight...can't find any linguine in the pantry!) starts to cook. 

After a little salt & pepper, the shrimp get a couple minutes on each side. 

Remove the cooked shrimp. 

2 more TBSP olive oil and 2 more TBSP butter into the pan. Then add 1/2 cup white wine and 2 TBSP lemon juice. Add the shallots & garlic back in and cook for a couple minutes. 

Add the drained pasta and the shrimp. Mix it up to coat the pasta. 

A tasty bowl of shrimp scampi with some Parmesan. Great dinner!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

GFP Day 32 - Roasted Chicken and Dirty Rice

Jo has been in the mood for chicken lately, and it just so happens we have a lot in the freezer. We made Greek salad with some ingredients from the co-op this week, so we'll go with roasted Greek chicken thighs. I got them out of the freezer and seasoned them with one of our favorite, versatile seasonings...

Cavender's Greek seasoning tastes great on chicken AND beef. It's great on popcorn, too. 
After seasoning, the thighs go on a rack in the 400 oven for about 45-50 minutes. Looks like they're done!

Earlier today I made some dirty rice. My sister Julie made this for our family potluck a few weeks ago and I loved it. My family shares recipes quite often, but we all add our own touches to them. This one starts with 6 cups of cooked rice. For meat, I cooked a baggie of chicken hearts I had in the freezer (I still have about 25 pounds left from that case I bought from the locker a few months ago!) I also added the rest of the cooked bratwurst that I froze last week when we made bratwurst pizza. I diced up some celery, half an onion, and a red pepper (all from this week's co-op) and some garlic and cooked them for a few minutes in a cup and a half of beef broth. Then I added a little Frank's hot sauce, some Worcestershire sauce, a tablespoon of Cajun seasoning, and some salt & pepper. I put the rice in the crock pot and poured everything else in, then mixed and heated on low for a few hours, until hot...and the chicken was done!

Chicken thigh and dirty rice. No chicken leftovers, but there are now 4 double servings of dirty rice in the freezer for future meals!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

GFP Day 31 - Manicotti With Spicy Chicken Sausage

We got some chicken sausage at Fresh Thyme market several weeks ago and decided to try it tonight. This is their spicy chicken Parmesan sausage. I decided to make manicotti. 

I took the sausage out of the casing and browned it. Smells great!

Cooked the manicotti shells and cooled them off. Mixed the spicy chicken parm sausage with a pint of ricotta cheese, 2 eggs, 3/4 cup of Parmesan cheese, 8 ounces of shredded mozzarella cheese,about a tablespoon of Italian seasoning, and a little salt & pepper. 
We'll also be using a jar of Fareway's best 3-cheese pasta sauce. 

Cover the bottom of the pan with some sauce. To fill the shells, I put the filling in a ziplock bag, get all the air out, then cut a small hole in the corner. It needs to be big enough to let the sausage chunks through. 

Fill the shells and place in the pan. 

Looks a little naked, so let's get the rest of that jar of sauce!

Top that with some Parmesan, cover with foil, and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes. 

Add in some garlic bread and we're ready to dig in!

Very good dinner from the freezer. We decided next time we'll add more mozzarella to the filling so it'll have more gooey, cheesy goodness.  And the great thing is, there's enough for another pan, so I made one for the freezer that we'll have some night when we need an easy-to-make dinner. There's leftover filling to go in the freezer as well. So much for creating space!

Monday, May 23, 2016

GFP Day 29 - Chicken Tender Sandwiches

A couple weeks ago our son added chicken tenders to our freezer. So tonight we chipped away at them to make our dinner. 

We started by toasting the buns. 

Dewey was happy about it. 

Tenders in the fryer. We tossed the last of the fries in, too. 

A little mayo and a quick tasty meal. 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

GFP Day 28 - Easy Like A Sunday Morning

Sundays are great for a hearty breakfast. John pulled a pound of our breakfast sausage out to make a favorite. Biscuits and gravy. 

We use a canned biscuit. Sometime I'm going to try to make a homemade biscuit and see if it's worth the effort. It's just so easy to pop that can. Even though I know it's coming the pop scares me every single time!

I started by browning the sausage. This is within my skill set. 

I took the sausage out of the pot leaving the grease. John takes over here to make the roux. Since the sausage is pretty lean he adds half a stick of butter to get the 50/50 fat to flour ratio. 
I also added some red pepper flakes to spice it up a lttle. 

Then he whisks and whisks. 

While he's whisking I put the biscuits on a cookie sheet. I love parchment paper with a light spritz of cooking spray. 

The roux is ready and time to add the milk. You have to add slowly. If you add all the milk at once it doesn't get thick. 
And it will get lumpy. 

The sausage goes back in. John added salt, pepper, and a little cayenne pepper to give it a little heat. 

The biscuits are golden brown. 

Then we split the biscuits and put on that good gravy. This should hold us till dinner. Now time for a morning nap.