Saturday, April 4, 2020


The Recipe Theme for April was to be Brunch dishes, I thought in this time of shelter in place we might like a one dish meal that one could serve at a brunch so I will share them, but I added in healthy snacks as well as part of the theme.  Then I will circle back to Brunch again next Spring.

The first recipe I have is a one pot Macaroni and Cheese with a unique herb twist - the flavor of Dill.


You can use Backyard Patch Herbs Marcy's Dill Dip or just plain Dill, but the Dill Dip Mix will give you a richer flavor.


One Pan Macaroni and Cheese

3-1/2 cups whole milk

3 cups water

1 package (16 ounces) elbow macaroni

4 ounces Velveeta, cubed

2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 – 2 tsp Marcy’s Dill Dip Mix

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper

Directions:

In a Dutch oven, combine milk, water and macaroni.  Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer until macaroni is tender and almost all cooking liquid has been absorbed, 12-15 minutes, stirring frequently.  Reduce heat to low; stir in cheeses until melted. Stir in Dill Dip Mix and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.


RECIPE THEME


Each month a theme is chosen and a number of recipes on that theme from my massive archive will be shared.  This year we have 12 new topics, different from the topics of last year.  To find the recipes of last year, check out this recipe link or search the blog with the topic Recipe2018, or Recipe2019 


You can search the monthly theme by looking for the theme keyword in the search box and it will pull up the recipes on that theme as posted, so look at the bottom of the recipe in each posting for the KEYWORD in the () to search for each  month.  All recipes this year will be tagged Recipe2020 so you can find them all.

The themes are:

Feb 2020 - Footbal Tailgate Favorites (AppFeb)
March 2020 - Kabobs (KabobMar)
April 2020 - Brunch (BrunchApr) postponed to 2021
April 2020 - Fun and healthy snacks (SnackApr)
May 2020 - Non-Traditional Pizza (PizzaMay)
June 2020 - StirFry Dishes (StirJun)
July 2020 - Salads with no lettuce (SaladJul)
August 2020 - Pickled things (PickleAug)
September 2020 - Quiche (QuicheSep)
October 2020 - Squash Soups (SquashOct)
November 2020 - Pumpkin (again) (PumpNov)
December 2020 - Turkey Recipes (TurkDec)

Friday, April 3, 2020

Herbal Hair Steam - Bath Blend of the Month

This is a great excuse to lie on your back on the bed and chill for 15 to 20 minutes.  A hair steam is a great way to energize your scalp, open the pours and improve circulation that can stimulate hair growth.  Steam is also beneficial for dry hair allowing the hair to rehydrate.  Steam lifts hair cuticle making other treatments more effective.

2 quarts water
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp rose petals
2 tsp dried lavender
2 tsp dried lemon balm
2 tsp dried comfrey

Combine the herbs together in a small bowl.  Find a large enough stock pot or Dutch oven to hold 2 quarts of water.  Prepare the area where you will be steaming. Wash your hair and bring water to a boil.

TO USE: wash your hair as normal, add conditioner to your hair, then pin your hair up on your head.  Prepare the steam by bringing water to a boil in a saucepan. Add the dry herbs to the water, cover and continue to simmer for 2 minutes.  Uncover and place the steaming bowl on a table or stand at the end of the sofa or bed positioning it so you can lie with your head about 6 to 12 inches above the pot.  Hang a towel over your forehead to trap the steam and lie still allowing the steam to penetrate hair for as long as you are comfortable.  Sit up and allow the hair to cool.  Once your hair is cool the cuticle has closed and you can rinse the conditioner from your hair knowing that the condition has penetrated you hair well and should leave it softer, smoother and more manageable.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Beef or Chicken and Veggie Skewers - recipe theme

I originally posted this recipe on Facebook back in 2015 and thought it was a great recipe to wrap up the recipe theme and fulfill my wish to make simple recipes.  Don’t be daunted by the long ingredient list, you can use any vegetables you have in the house.  Even though that are on the way out, all veggies work great on skewers, so use up the rubbery carrots and limp celery and make these tasty skewers and if the weather is good where you are, try them on the outdoor grill, if not roast them in the oven.

The sauce for this is bright and springy with a tangy yogurt-garlic-cucumber combination.  We like to use Greek yogurt because it has a thick enough texture to blend with high-moisture ingredients without becoming too thin.  And they are just as tasty with chicken as they are with beef.

Beef and Veggie Skewers

1/2 cup grated peeled seedless cucumber (or regular cucumber)*
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 large garlic cloves, minced, divided (or 2 tsp garlic powder)
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, divided (optional)
3 teaspoons lemon juice, divided
3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon pepper, divided
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
12 oz. stew meat or beef top sirloin steak, cut into 1 1/2-to 2-inch pieces
      If you only have chicken, cut 2 large breasts into 1 ½ inch cubes
4 large cherry tomatoes
1 diagonal cut carrot (optional)
2 wide cut celery ribs
1 green bell pepper, cut into 2-inch pieces
8 (1/2-inch) wedges red onion

Directions:

Grate the cucumber and drain in fine strainer over small bowl, pressing with spatula to extract juices; discard juices. Combine cucumber and yogurt in small bowl. Stir in half of the garlic, 1/2 tablespoon of the mint, 3/4 teaspoon of the lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of the oil, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and dash of the pepper.

Place beef in shallow dish. Combine remaining minced garlic, 1 tablespoon mint, 2 1/4 teaspoons lemon juice, 2 teaspoons oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper and herbs in small bowl; pour over meat, turning to coat. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

Heat grill. Thread beef onto 2 (12-inch) metal skewers, separating pieces slightly. Thread vegetables onto 2 (12-inch) metal skewers, beginning and ending with tomatoes. Grill, covered, over medium heat or coals 6 minutes for beef for medium-rare and 10 to 12 minutes for vegetables or until crisp-tender, turning to brown all sides. In the over broil on high for about the same amount of time, turning to brown all sides.

*Seedless cucumbers, also called hothouse or English cucumbers, are thinner and longer than regular cucumbers. They're sold wrapped in plastic.


RECIPE THEME

Each month a theme is chosen and a number of recipes on that theme from my massive archive will be shared.  This year we have 12 new topics, different from the topics of last year.  To find the recipes of last year, check out this recipe link or search the blog with the topic Recipe2018, or Recipe2019 


You can search the monthly theme by looking for the theme keyword in the search box and it will pull up the recipes on that theme as posted, so look at the bottom of the recipe in each posting for the KEYWORD in the () to search for each  month.  All recipes this year will be tagged Recipe2020 so you can find them all.

The themes are:

Feb 2020 - Footbal Tailgate Favorites (AppFeb)
March 2020 - Kabobs (KabobMar)
April 2020 - Brunch (BrunchApr)
May 2020 - Non-Traditional Pizza (PizzaMay)
June 2020 - StirFry Dishes (StirJun)
July 2020 - Salads with no lettuce (SaladJul)
August 2020 - Pickled things (PickleAug)
September 2020 - Quiche (QuicheSep)
October 2020 - Squash Soups (SquashOct)
November 2020 - Pumpkin (again) (PumpNov)
December 2020 - Turkey Recipes (TurkDec)

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Easy Recipes for the Weekend - Basil and Sage Pork Chops

Here in Illinois we are in week 2 of shelter-in-place and we have a well stocked larder, but that does not mean we want to make something complicated every meal as we stay at home.  We have treated ourselves to interesting recipes.

Mint Meat Rub on pork roast was one meal this week

Last night it was Chicken Carbernara my husband made from scratch for the first time.

I wanted to help folks find quick easy recipes to make a tasty dinner or lunch with few ingredients and very little special prep.

I have shared a few in the past so you can check those out:

Vegetable Soup
Buttery Shrimp
Slow Cooker Chicken Creole
Beef Empanadas
Salsa Meatloaf
Saucy Chicken


Today I have a quick and easy pork chop recipe.  It is good with fresh or dry herbs.


Basil and Sage Pork Chops 

4 lean pork chops
1 Tbls olive oil
¼ cup water
1 Tbls fresh chopped (1 tsp dried)
1 Tbls fresh sage (1 tsp dried)

Directions:
Brown the pork chops in oil.  Add water.  Cover and simmer on medium high heat for 10 minutes.  Scatter the basil and sage over chops.  Add more water if pan is dry.  Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, or until chops are cooked through.  Serve with green beans.  I love to sauté the green beans in the pan after I remove the porkchops, just add a Tbls of butter nad stir until warmed.


Friday, March 27, 2020

House Cleansing Simmer

To link with my scented herb bundles of a few days ago, here is a simmer you can do on the stove to cleans the air and freshens the house.


It is raining here again and just chilly enough we can't open the doors, so I pulled together this scented simmer to clean the air and brighten and freshen the house.

I am making dried lemon peel, a task I ususally have trouble finding time to accomplish, but not right now!  As a result I purchased a couple dozen organic lemons and am zesting them.  Then I took several lemons and made this simmer.

House Cleansing Simmer

2 lemons, sliced
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
2 sprigs Rosemary

Place all items in a pot with water and simmer together.  Remember to continue to add water as it boils away.

Use some simple ingredients to clean your air and continue to stay safe indoors!



Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Eggplant Rigatoni Easy Meal


I have been looking through my recipes for those that have only a few ingredients, or easy to get ingredients that one can make while cooking at home. I found this to get us started as I keep sorting and looking.

This one uses eggplant.  I figure if you have produce left in your store this will be one of the items still remaining.  Also if this summer you grow a garden, this would be a good plant to add to your vegetable garden.

This recipe is tasty with fresh or dry basil, so use what you have on hand.  No basil, try oregano or marjoram instead.


Eggplant Rigatoni

1 Eggplant

1 medium onion

1-2 cloves garlic

Half and half or cream

1 15 1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes

½ cup fresh chopped basil or 4 Tablespoons dried basil

1 cup fresh mozzarella, cut into a rough dice


Directions:

Cook rigatoni to package directions. Remove skin from eggplant and dice eggplant. Dice onion and garlic sauté in olive oil until softened but not browned. Add diced eggplant. Cook until tender.  Remove half to a bowl.  Add the can diced tomatoes with sauce.  Add a bit of cream

Add ½ cup cut fresh basil, or 2 Tbls dried to sauce.  Add back in ¼ cup egg plant. Add cooked rigatoni to sauce.  Add reserved eggplant and basil. Add diced mozzarella and stir in, cook until melty and serve immediately.
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