Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Few Recipes to Consider when Time is of the Essence

From the beginning of my son’s life I have heard from numerous people that cooking is going to get increasingly more difficult as he ages.  So far, I haven’t had any problems because most of the food I prepare is straight forward and quick to make.  What is even better about my recipes is that they are easy to modify.  For instance, the gravy recipe I use is easily modified to make macaroni and cheese sauce, beef stew base, cream of tuna, cream based soups, or any number of things, whatever you can think of.  I will give you a few of my recipes in this blog posting.  Hopefully, you will enjoy them as much as I have.  Just remember that you need to alter them according to your tastes.

 A word of warning though, I don’t have the measurements written down anywhere, but I am fairly certain that they are correct or close.  I know for sure that the butter to flour ratio in the macaroni and cheese sauce and in the creamed tuna is 1:1.  It is the liquid to butter and flour mixture that might be off.  I usually start with a 1:4 ratio, 1 part mixture to 4 parts liquid, and add liquid from there.   Anyway, these are a few of the recipes that I use that are simple and quick to prepare.  The beef stew is my favorite.  

Creamed tuna:

This is a nice and quick recipe that I stole from my friend that I baby sit for.

Ingredients:  ¼ cup flour, ¼ cup butter or margarine, 2 cups of milk, 1 can of tuna fish, 1 can of peas optional, half an onion optional,  and season to taste

  1.            First all you have to do is make a rue with butter and flour.  Melt the butter in a sauce pan on medium heat throw the flour in with it and stir it until it gets thick and is well mixed together.
  2.      .     Add the milk slowly while stirring it in.  Bring the mixture to a boil and stir occasionally until it thickens. 
  3.      Strain and add the tuna fish, peas, and onion if desired. 

After that it is even simpler.  Add salt and pepper or whatever you want.  I like putting hot sauce in it, but that is me.  Anyway, when everything is done and hot enough for you pour the mixture over some toast and you’re good to go.

Macaroni and Cheese:

Another easy one.

Ingredients:  2lbs of macaroni, ½ cup flour, ½ cup butter, 5 cups milk, 1 large onion, 1 lb of cheddar cheese or 2 if you like it really cheesy.  As always, season to taste. 
  1. Boil water and throw in the macaroni and bring to a boil for 7 minutes or so until they are soft enough for you.
  2.  Melt the butter over medium heat in a medium sized sauce pan then stir in the flour until well mixed and “sticky”
  3. Stir the milk in slowly and bring to a boil.
  4. While milk is heating cube the cheese and chop the onion.
  5. Stir cheese and onion into boiling mixture and reduce heat to low. Stir occasionally until all the cheese is melted.
  6.  Pour mixture over macaroni and mix it together and you are done.

At this point you can either serve the macaroni and cheese or bake it.  I like it either way.  If you are going to bake it throw it all into an oven safe covered casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes to half an hour.  You can sprinkle bread crumbs and more cheese on top if you want.

Beef Stew:

This is one of my favorites.  It is simple to make, and even if I screw it up it still tastes alright.

Ingredients: ¼ cup flour, 1 lb of beef cubes, 2 capfulls of cooking oil or 2 tablespoons of oil, 3 cups of beef broth, 1 cup of water, an onion, 2 carrots, 3-4 potatoes, 1 can of corn, 1 can of spinach, and whatever else you think you want to throw into it.
  1.  Chop up the carrots, onion, and potatoes and put them in a crockpot or medium or large pot along with the beef broth, water, corn, spinach, and anything else you might want to try in the stew.
  2.   Put flour in gallon sized zip lock bag or any plastic bag you have handy (Tupperware works too as long as it has a lid.
  3.  Put a few pieces of the beef in the bag with the four at a time and make sure they all get thoroughly coated in flour.
  4. Heat oil/butter in frying pan. 
  5. Put half of meat and flour mixture in the frying pan and brown nicely. 
  6. When beef is browned throw it in the crockpot with everything else.  Then do the same for the other half of the beef.
  7. Turn the crock pot on and leave it on low for about 8 hours or so until the veggies are done. If you want to do it on the stove top keep the heat to medium-low stirring occasionally until the potatoes and carrots are done.  By then the beef will have finished cooking and the stew should be ready to eat without the danger of burning.  On the stove top it will take about an hour and a half.  As always season to taste. 

Burrito/taco things:

Here is a fun, quick, and easy recipe that I stole from my friend again.  I don’t think she’ll mind if I share it here.  Besides, I modified it.  I encourage you to modify any recipe you try too.

Ingredient: package of tortillas, 1 can of refried beans, 1 packet of taco seasoning, 1 can of spinach, 2 cups of ready to eat rice, 2-3 cups of shredded cheese.
  1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  2. In mixing bowl mix the refried beans, taco seasoning, and spinach together.
  3. On the center of a tortilla put about a tablespoon of rice then the same amount roughly of the refried bean mixture and sprinkle on cheese
  4. Fold tortilla.  I pull the sides in over the guts and then roll it into a cylinder shape starting on the unfolded sides.  Then put the tortilla onto a baking sheet.  Repeat as many times as needed
  5.  Bake the tortillas for about 5 or 10 minutes until the cheese is melted.
  6. Voila! You’re done eat up prom date!

Well, there you have it.  These are a few quick and easy things to put together that anyone can do.  Believe me.  If I can do it so can you. It’s just that easy.  You might be wondering why I use spinach so often.  Well, the answer to that is that I love canned spinach.  Of course you can leave it out if you want to.  I won’t be offended.  I promise. 

Oh yeah, feel free to share any of your recipes that are quick and easy too.  I don’t know about you, but I am always looking for new ideas to try out.      

1 comment:

  1. The roux to liquid ratio is easy to remember: for each quart of liquid you'll need 4 ozs. of roux (4 tbsp. margarine - or any fat - and 4 tbsp. flour). OR -- for every CUP of liquid you'll need 1 oz. roux ---- 1 tbsp. fat, 1 tbsp. flour. Be careful with boiling milk to thicken -- it'll "break" or curdle. Heat the liquid to just below boiling but don't boil! Roux will thicken the liquid at 180* f.