Archive for March, 2012

Recipe: 5 minute Spanish rice

|March 28, 2012|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Just love having a freezer!  You can put together a meal in no time with leftovers, frozen pre-prepped veggies, frozen sauces – you name it.

I've been keeping myself quite busy with a few things and I really wasn't in the mood for cooking.  I know – shame on me.  But once in a while I get those days just like anyone else does.

Thawed a small jar of homemade sauce in the refrigerator overnight.  Really I figured I would just make a quick macaroni dish and get it over with.

Instead I wanted Spanish rice.  So I pulled some chopped red and green bell pepper and onion out of the freezer and placed in my pan with a bit of water.  Added paprika and chili powder and a bit of crushed red pepper flakes and let that cook until the veggies were nice and tender.

Meanwhile – boiled my water and added my minute rice to the pan……..wait and fluff.

Once the veggies were ready, I added my sauce to heat through until nice and hot.  By that time I was able to fluff my rice and add to my pan.

Tad-da – done!

Recipe: Pizza subs

|March 28, 2012|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

A cold night, a good movie in the DVD player (since cable is nothing but re-runs – the same 4 or 5 movies on every channel day in and day out for weeks on end!) and  something nice to munch on.

Enjoying a loaded salad for a meal is nice – it gives you a chance to enjoy a nice movie munchie.

Normally, it's a movie and crocheting – but a pizza sub just sounded so good!

I was just in the mood for one.  They take just a few minutes to make and you can have anything you want on it.  Dang!  Fresh out of anchovies!  Oh well –

Soggy pizza subs are not for me.  Saucy – YES!  Soggy – NO!  And there is a difference.  (I am a big sauce person – I have no blood in my body – it's just homemade sauce!)

Using 6-inch sausage/hoagie rolls, I start by splitting open and placing in the broiler for a few minutes to toast the inside of the bun.  To me there is a big difference and I don't miss this step – then it's not soggy.

Remove from the broiler and brush a very light coating of olive oil over the inside of the bun, top with whatever sauce you want (I make my own sauces) and add your toppings.  No anchovies so I had to suffer with a cheese/pepperoni one. 

Popped into the oven (I used the toaster oven to do the whole thing – so easy!) at 350* F. for about 10 to 15 minutes and it was perfect. 

Nice and crusty, not soggy on the inside, yet saucy enough to keep me happy.

If making them open-faced:  just separate the top and heel of the bun and place in the broiler to toast, and continue the same way with the oil, sauce, etc.

Very simple to do and you can even use thick sliced bread, French bread, baguettes, bagels, English muffins – whatever.

Recipe: A quite filling salad – makes a great meal!

|March 26, 2012|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

We had such a mild winter – or should I say we had an absolutely INSANE winter this year.  The temperatures were up and down and of course everyone got a "bug" of some sort.

And then we had such beautiful summer-like weather where it just put you in the mood for "lighter" cooking.

I absolutely love antipasto A/K/A LOADED salads!

Here's one I made that just hit the spot – and it felt so nice to have the hot weather and a good salad for a complete  meal.

I used my salad mix which I love to make a big bowl of and I can enjoy it till it's gone: chopped romaine, iceberg, chipped purple cabbage and chipped carrots.  Just place in your salad bowl and top with sliced cukes, sliced radishes, (which are under what you see) thin sliced deli turkey and ham, genoa and hard salami, mozzarella slices cut into squares, provolone slices cut into wedges, Swiss slices cut into thin strips, chopped tomato, black and green olives, sliced pepperoni and hard-cooked egg quarters.

A nice vinaigrette of olive oil, fresh squeezed lemon, sea salt, cracked black pepper, crushed basil – andif you make too much – oh well – sop it up with crusty Italian bread!

I can never tire of salads like these and the prep time is well worth it!

Recipe: $400 later………………

|March 26, 2012|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

A couple weeks ago, my babies had their annual spaghetti dinner/basket fundraiser for things their school needs.

Last year I donated a cookbook I wrote on baking which included quite a bit – about 300 pages.  That went into Princess's class baking basket as that was their theme.

This year, the little guy's class had "Movie Night" as a theme.  So, of course, I donated a cookbook that I wrote for it called "Movie Munchies" with over 200 recipes.  I also decided to donate two baskets in their name.  And I stuck to the movie theme.

Yeah – tell me – EXPENSIVE!

Each basket had 10 DVD's – one for family (more adult movies like Clint Eastwood, etc.) entertainment, the other for children's cartoons and movies.

What you cannot see – 2 mugs on each side of the DVD's (OMG did I ever go through scotch tape and packing tape!) each with snack bags of peanuts, sunflower seeds, Slim Jims.  Two more mugs are inside the large popcorn bucket that is standing on a box of fruit snacks.  Each popcorn bucket has (besides the additional 2 mugs), a box of microwave popcorn, a box of hot chocolate, a bag of multi-colored marshmallows and a cookbook.  All balancing on an egg-shaped Easter tray.

Tied on a page protector with a list of everything in each basket and each movie, the main star, and the rating for all to see.

I took the cookbook to a local printer to have it printed on both sides and bound (ring binding) with a simple clear front cover and black plastic for the back – $90 just for that!  4 copies!  I almost choked on that one.

The cello, bows, curly ribbons and multi-colored Easter grass – $20.

Batman, Spiderman, Clint Eastwood, Mummy, etc. – a small fortune.

Last year they had almost 400 baskets and giveaways – we were there all night.  This year – they only had about 170 baskets and giveaways. 

My baskets never made the tables with the rest of them.  They were placed on the stage where you had to pay $1/ticket or 6 for $5 to get something from the stage.  My baskets were the first raffled, first number called got their pick.  They also raffled 2 sets of 2 Sabres hockey tickets, a 2-day cruise (????? something near here which I never heard of!) and an autographed hockey stick and program.

Really disappointing to see that this year there wasn't much donated.  I know they did not make what they did the year before.

But $50 later with little tickets (not including $10 for the "stage" items) Bruiser won an outdoor sports basket with outside toys, bat, balls, etc. and Princess won an outside set for catching bugs, jump ropes, toys, etc.

Needless to say – their mom and I won nothing – but atleast the kids got something.  Face it, I could place 500 tickets in one bucket and then have someone drop 1 ticket in with mine – their ticket will get called!

One heck of an expensive night for Barilla pasta in Barilla sauce, with rock-hard meatballs (mystery meat) donated by a local meatball company.  As for Barilla sauce – I'm so glad I make my own – it was horrid!

But the kids had a grand time running all over the place with their friends and taking their treasures home to enjoy.

And next year I will donate different types of baskets!

Recipe: Pork and percitelli

|March 26, 2012|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Just a quickie meal – pork and percitelli –

I don't care what anyone says, even though I love meat sauce using ground meat, there is just something about adding pork to your sauce to give it "that" flavor.  Many times I add pork to my meat (beef) sauce, and I also love chicken added.  I don't add chicken legs, nor do I add thighs or breasts with bones in them.  I have this fear of someone choking and chicken in sauce is stringy enough without me having to worry about adding bones!  A good skinless, boneless piece of chicken is heaven in sauce.

I fried my pork (this was boneless country ribs) in olive oil and seasoned with my garlic, Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, parsley.  When just about done, I added my puree and paste.  I had a couple fresh tomatoes that were getting a bit too ripe so I scored them and plunged in boiling water to skin; then chopped and added to the pan with a bit of water.  Season with fennel (yes, fennel really adds when you have pork in your sauce, basil, parsley, garlic, Kosher salt, fresh ground black peper, a bit of onion powder, sprinkle of sugar, and fresh grated Pecorino-Romano.

Allow to simmer while you bring a large pot of water to boil – add your salt, return to boil, add perticelli and cook al dente – which only took about 8 minutes.


A simple side salad with homemade vinaigrette and a chunk of homemade bread to sop up everything.

Yeah – I still break bread………

Recipe: “Pink slime” time!

|March 22, 2012|read comments (1)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Okay – by now you all know me – I don’t believe in processed foods and all the chemicals and preservatives that are jammed into our bodies each day. Yes there are good preservatives and bad preservatives. But some of the things that are being fed to us are totally uncalled for.

I haven’t chimed in about this pink slime stuff – but it’s time to jump on the soap box – so here I go:

For those of you that do not know what pink slime is (and that is the actual name for it) it is actually LEAN FINELY GROUND TEXTURED BEEF THAT IS MADE FROM FATTY LEFTOVER MEAT TRIMMINGS FROM OTHER CUTS. No it is not genetically engineered! But it is butcher scraps. And after seeing what goes on in some meat rooms – and the length of time these scraps sit – I just don’t want to go there!

This “meat” goes through a process where it is heated (simmered) to 100* F. (this separates the fat from the muscle) and “spun” to remove most of the fat. From there it is compressed into blocks to be used in ground meats. Then it is “exposed” to "a puff of ammonium hydroxide gas" to kill bacteria, such as E. coli and salmonella.** Flash freeze these compressed bricks and send them to the stores and markets!

In case you care to know – Pink Slime is made by Beef Products Incorporated – and they have made MILLIONS selling this garbage.

Needless to say, this does not even need to be placed on food labels as an ingredient. It makes up 70% of some ground meats and burgers and is in at least HALF of all US ground meat and burgers.

Oh it meets the food safety requirements and it’s been around for years – it’s nothing new. It made headlines a couple years back when McDonald’s and other major chains discontinued using ammonia-treated beef.

It has, of course, turned up in school lunches though. Sure, use it on the kids. Make Congress and the White House eat it.

Now help me to understand this:

Our “government” (which keeps sticking it’s nose into what we eat, how much we eat, how it is supposed to be prepared, etc.) does not allow McDonald’s (for instance) to set up shop in a school cafeteria because of hundreds of reasons – making such foods the worst thing you can serve your children. McDonald’s – who has chosen not to use ammonia-treated meat products for consumers. BUT YET – IT IS BEING FED TO SCHOOL CHILDREN! I don’t get it! Do you? Wow – sure ain’t like the old Wonder Bread – ain’t gonna make strong bodies and strong minds for their future!

There’s a link –

Which to me is a waste of internet space. They spend too much time defending themselves. Sure USDA inspected beef – the whole cow – including ALL it’s parts – hmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Then you have the National Meat Association that chimes in fighting against those that say this “meat” is destined for dog food. Also, they claim that ammonium hydroxide is used in baked goods, puddings and other processed foods. AHA – another reason to make it homemade!

It was nice to hear this morning on the news that more major food chains (such as Safe Way and Shaw’s) are now refusing to use or sell products containing pink slime. Maybe we can get back to being healthier if more would stand up to what is going on with our food supply, how it is treated, where it comes from, etc.

What is sad – Wegman’s, Market Basket, and Stop ‘n Shop say that except for some varieties mostly of the organic type, much of their ground beef contains pink slime, but that their processing plants use a safer antibacterial agent on the meat scraps. And that would be what??? Wegman’s denies selling it but yet they use their own version of pink slime in their meats. Glad I don’t buy my meats there and Wegman‘s is a popular store (not for me or my family) around here!

WalMart and Sam’s Club sell it – but also offer alternatives – they state. I do not buy meat from WalMart because I do not know where it comes from and what they do to it. I am dead-set against “foreign” (meaning from some company in another state I don’t know of) packaged meats in my home. I want to see the butcher cutting and wrapping cuts of meat. Never trust anyone!

Places like Aldi’s and Save Lot – don’t know where their mystery meat comes from as well – so steer clear.

BJ’s sells it and will continue to – they like the profit. (low life!)

And this ammonia-treatment to kill bacteria, such as E. coli and salmonella is a CROCK! Learn how to properly store, handle and cook your foods and you won’t have any problems. Also, maybe the USDA needs to crack down more on farmers, food processing plants, supermarkets, etc.

If you are worried about pink slime – since it is not labeled and cannot be detected with the naked eye – buy organic beef. So far – it is not allowed in it.

Another thing you can do – pick up a piece of chuck and have the butcher grind it for you if you don’t want to grind it yourself; no filler!

One thing we don’t need is more FILLERS in our diets. We need good old-fashioned, unprocessed foods to make up most of what we eat. Just think how much healthier our ancestors were – and they worked a minimum of 18 hours each day really laboring! They ate good home-cooked meals made with fresh ingredients, worked hard in their gardens and their homes as well as on the job. They lived long, healthy and productive lives – none of all these cancers and diseases and autism, ADHD, etc. in those days – not like today. And they had WHOLE MILK WITH THE CREAM ON TOP, they fried and deep fried using LARD and baked and cooked with it. They used REAL BUTTER not imitation crap. Got the picture yet?

Open your eyes people – LEARN!

Frozen, pre-packaged and micro-waved foods ain’t gonna do you or your family any good!

Like I have said before (and I am at the age where I can repeat myself over and over again and get away with it) – for 30 days eat fresh foods, meats with no fillers, fresh veggies and fruits, eliminate most caffeine drinks, no pop or energy drinks, homemade cakes and baked goods, homemade breads, homemade sauces and gravies – you know the routine. Cook the old-fashioned way. Do it for 30 days – see how you feel after that 30 days. Betcha feel tons better, look better and maybe even a bit thinner! Need help or meal ideas? Just drop me a line!

(as I step off my soapbox – time for a cup of tea……….)