Sunday, August 4, 2013

Dinner was paid for with pickles

August 3 & 4, 2013

I spent the weekend in the kitchen. Yesterday, we had a quick lunch of grilled veggies. My hubby grilled potatoes, onion, mushrooms, and peppers. I had mine over arugula and topped it with ranch and sunflower seeds. Then I got busy. I had bought a five gallon bucket of tomatoes at the farmer's market (so sad that my garden is so far behind this year). It was time for spaghetti sauce. Oh my gosh. Did I ever do the sauce! I used a pot that I had gotten from my father in law. It held FOUR batches of spaghetti sauce. I ended up with 27 pints of spaghetti sauce. I also did one small batch of pizza sauce and got 5 jars.

I use a spaghetti sauce recipe that I got from my sister (no idea where she got it from originally). 1 large onion, 1 large green pepper, 20 ounces tomatoes, 30 ounces tomato sauce, 24 ounces tomato paste, 1/2 pound mushrooms, 4 cups water, 2 bay leaves, a little black pepper, and 2 teaspoons each of:parsley, basil, oregano, garlic powder, sugar, salt, and italian. Add everything together and bring to a boil then simmer for 2-3 hours. You can either freeze the spaghetti sauce or process it for 30 minutes in a hot water bath canner. I love this sauce. I use it for lasagna now too. It is much easier to just pop open a jar instead of making lasagna sauce from scratch.

After working all day on sauce, we decided to enjoy our night. We had some friends over for dinner and a bonfire. We had tacos and a queso dip. My hubby browned some local grass fed beef for our friends' tacos. We had sauteed onion, pepper, and mushroom along with refried beans. We topped our tacos with lettuce, green onion, and jalapeno from my garden. We also used tomatoes, cilantro, mexican cheese, sour cream, and some of my homemade salsa. Our friends brought fruit platters, cheesecake, and angel food cake. Yum! It looked so good that I dove right in and forgot to take a picture. Oops!

I was back into the kitchen this morning. Today's job was hot pickles. I used habanero, scotch bonnet, and ghost peppers. I also added in a couple garlic cloves and sprigs of dill to each jar. I've got a very happy hubby! I can't wait to see (notice I didn't say taste!) how hot these are for him. He loves loves loves hot stuff.

I took a break for lunch. My daughter wrote up a menu (after browsing our fridge of leftovers) and then served us all our lunch. She made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for my son. He also had an apple with some of the leftover lemon cupcake dip. She warmed me up some of the leftover grilled veggies. She added fresh garden lettuce and green onion, arugula, ranch, and sunflower seeds. For herself, my daughter made a peanut butter sushi roll (tortilla rolled up and cut) along with apples and lemon cupcake dip. Who knew that having it be a "restaurant" would make it fun for her to plate, serve, and clean up lunch!

Now for the star of the day: dinner. My hubby was pretty happy that I did the pickles for him so he decided to take over the kitchen and let me play with the puppy while he got to work. He tried a recipe that I found today on for Baked Barbecue Panko Tofu. He altered it and instead of making barbecue sauce he used our favorite teriyaki sauce. He pressed then sliced the tofu. He dipped it in teriyaki sauce. Next, he put it in panko bread crumbs. The tofu baked at 400 for 30 minutes flipping over half way through. The recipe called for basting the tofu after 30 minutes of baking and then baking 10 more minutes per side. We skipped that step. I had bought swiss chard at the farmer's market. We had never tried it before but I figured that it would probably be similar to spinach, which we love. My hubby sauteed red onion and garlic in vegan butter. He added the swiss chard with kosher salt and garlic/wine seasoning. It cooked covered until it began to wilt. Next, he added some local white wine and let it simmer until tender. I asked him for a carb as another side (we all know that I'm a carb crazy kind of girl). He found my rice stash and made a pot of sushi rice. I took the puppy outside and before I knew it I was being summoned with "hey honey, dinner is ready and it is all set for a picture". Ha. Yes! He outdid himself with plating. Only problem is now I want him to fancy up our plates everyday. My daughter saw my plate and asked if she could have a pretty plate too. This led to us all having pretty plates. :)

How was dinner? My daughter had her tofu gone before I even sat down. She said it was amazing and had three helpings. My son said it was pretty good. He had a second helping. My hubby said that the tofu was good and had a lot of flavor when we dipped it in the teriyaki sauce. I liked it. It was really good when it was mixed with a little of the swiss chard. Oooooh. Onto the swiss chard. I LOVED it. My hubby really liked it and said he thinks he prefers that to spinach. My son didn't like it but he isn't too fond of the texture of cooked spinach/greens though. Overall, a definite win for our foodie weekend.

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