Here's a new take on an old favorite--one usually sees Chicken or Veal or even Eggplant done "parmesan" style but this one is done with Turkey cutlets thanks to the "Buy one get one free" special at my local grocery chain.
You CAN substitute any of the above items in this same recipe in the recipe, however.
And, it could be a quick and easy Valentine's Day dinner, too!
4 turkey cutlets, pounded thin
1 egg, beaten--in a shallow bowl
1 cup of bread crumbs (Panko bread crumbs really crisp nicely, but any will do), mixed with:
1 tbsp dried Italian herbs (mix these with bread crumbs, on a plate for breading)
Dip cutlets in egg, then into seasoned bread crumbs. Fry in olive oil in a skillet on medium heat, until both sides are crisped. (see picture above)
Arrange on the bottom of a casserole dish. Cover with 1 jar of marinara sauce and sprinkle top with mixed Italian cheeses (shredded or shave mozarrella, romano, parmesan.)
Refer to picture opposite.
Bake in 350 degree oven until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees about 45 minutes to 1 hour, confirm with meat thermometer.
Serve over pasta noodles (angel hair, linguine, spaghetti--all are fine) and with salad.
There's something about January and February and March that seem to make them go on forever--besides the weather, that is. I think it's because it is one of the longest periods in the year where you are homebound and you have little to celebrate.
Valentine's Day is an exception, but it's limited to the lovers, not really a "family" or "singles" celebration time and it's just one day without a lot of anticipatory excitement.
You might be lucky if someone's birthday falls during those months, but again, it's just one day out of three-plus months of darkness and gloom.
So, I am suggesting that you perk up your mantles or shelves and mirrors with some random "little lights." Set on a timer, you may never have to enter a gloomy living room or kitchen again.
I have little lights in "seasonal" garland on my library fireplace mantle, little lights on my living room fireplace mantle (pictured above) nestled with some feather-y chickens and a vase--and in my kitchen on a "created" window sill.
My faux window sill is a shelf set underneath a curved mirror, to mimic the window it is placed opposite (see above picture). The mirror is hung above an old dressor I've appropriated as storage for large pans and serving ware. A piece of glass on top allows the surface to be used as a beverage service area.
So for under $10, it's possible to bring a little holiday mood into a couple of rooms of your home to make the winter pass a bit more cheerfully.
It's snowing again, surprise?
The only good thing about it is that bad weather inspires you to stay in the house and nest (or "hunker down" as the case may be). I am hunkering down and cooking now that my morning farm chores are done outside. The pictures above are shots of the two items I have just started to cook. I'm doing my weekend cooking at the same time, leaving me free to attend a mandatory workshop tomorrow.
I have a decent sized 3-4 lb chuck roast defrosted and am making two different recipes at the same time:
"EVERYTHING" BEEF VEGETABLE SOUP
SLOW-COOKED SHREDDED BEEF TACOS
So, here we go with the recipes.
As usual with my recipes, the amounts are estimates. You can always add more water or different vegetables to the soup depending upon what you have available in your pantry and refrigerator. I expect you will always adjust seasonings to taste. My personal preference is to always assure there is garlic and/or onion in soups and I add cooked tomatoes and/or carrots to most soups as well. These additions are for nutritional considerations.
Divide the chuck roast first. The bones and about 1/3 of the meat go into your soup pot. The remaining meat goes into your oiled crockpot.
"Everything" Beef Vegetable Soup
To the beef and bones, add 8 cups of water.
1 cup each of the following fresh vegetables:
Chopped onion (1 medium), sliced celery (3-4 stalks), sliced carrots (4 small), chopped cabbage (about 1/4 head), diced potato (1 medium)
AND 1 large can (28oz) diced tomatoes with the juice.
Season with salt, pepper, about 1-2 tbsp dried herbs blend and 1 bay leaf.
Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer at least one hour.
Remove beef, bones and bay leaf. Discard bones and bay leaf.
Allow beef to cool, then chop and return meat to pot.
While the soup is cooking, the crockpot recipe is ridiculously easy.
Shredded Beef Tacos
Arrange the large chunk(s) of beef from your chuck roast on the bottom of an oiled crockpot.
Cover with 2/3 jar (15.5 oz) salsa
Cover and cook on "LOW" all day (8 hours or until you're ready.)
Remove meat to a plate. Using 2 forks, shred meat. It's now ready for use as taco filling.
Serve in soft or hard shells according to your taste. Use remaining salsa as topping along with shredded lettuce, shredded cheese, sour cream, etc.
Today's post was going to be a recipe for pan-fried steak but the photos wouldn't upload which led me to try re-loading the software and before I knew it, it was time to go to an appointment I had downtown. I never had a chance to post before my trek downtown.
It was fate then, that led me to posting this blog instead (and the software fix didn't work so recipes are deferred for another day or so--who knows what you'll get tomorrow).
Today' s blog is about driving down Lake Shore Drive from Hyde Park to downtown and having a chance encounter with an abandoned dog.
I had just read a Facebook post last night from one of my sisters-in-law who commented that her husband, while running, had happened upon a dog in the frigid weather. It had bloody paws, having been out in the cold. I commented that it was probably abandoned in the country by some ne'er-do-well.
I am sure the pit bull going southward on foot into the northbound traffic was likewise abandoned by its owner. Like the post I read the night before, both left their animals out in throughly unsafe conditions.
I was leisurely driving from my home, heading to the area around the Art Institute--the radio on, my interest wandering to the mounds of snow still piled high next to the pavement and creating tunnels on the entrance and exit ramps. Suddenly I saw a pretty reddish pit bull with a white splotch on the center of its chest, in the outer lane walking directly into the oncoming traffic. It must've just been dropped there.
I made two quick calls while driving (I have Bluetooth so no worries)--immediately to 911 with hopes that they'd send someone to save the dog from traffic (the snow mounds on Lake Shore Drive are so high, it would be impossible for the dog to escape without help)--then a second call to a dear friend who volunteers with a Pit Bull rescue organization. Amazingly, we connected instantly and thankfully, she went into immediate action as soon as I hung up.
The rescue volunteers actually made it to the site before the 911 people!
While I write this, the dog is still being sought. She managed to get away from the traffic and up to the park areas alongside the Drive. The authorities are also pursuing. The Pit Bull rescue group assures me that they will in turn try to save it from the pound. Apparently the dog is a nursing female so there are puppies of some age somewhere also--the rescue group is working all angles. I wish I had more information for them to go on.
I post this story to give you one more example of how all living creatures are watched over--and how we are the instruments through which God may work...if we are open and listen for the cues. God bless the pet rescue volunteers and their devotion to this cause.
First, let me share Martha's recipe for Chili, which is based upon the chili served in "chili joints" in the first 50 years of the last century, eventually dying out by the 1970s.
Chili joints were the original fast food parlors: no frills, inexpensive, limited menu... Chili that you could fill up on--thanks to free oyster crackers!
During the Great Depression, some food historians credit more lives saved by chili joints than by the Red Cross.
MARTHA's CHILI JOINT CHILI
One COULD see the fast food chains instead as providing a REAL SERVICE to those who can't afford personal chefs and trainers or ever eating out in a non fast food restaurant.
Take a drive down 47th Street in Chicago (where I grew up as a child) and see the many clean fast food establishments with play centers and coffee bars. Some see exploitation of the poor--I see very affordable food, a safe place where Moms can afford to take their children for a treat after school, where young people can meet for a date, where seniors get inexpensive food and some social time, where anyone can access the internet.
And, they manage to provide inexpensive food with dignity to their customers. Also, they have been improving their foods and selections as more is known about nutrition..
They are this century's Chili Joints!
It's the USDA and Congress that has given the green light to ethanol and MANY other "conservation" subsidies diverting farmers from food production. THE USDA and CONGRESS have permitted animal feed manufacturers to put hormone supplements, animal byproducts into non-carnivorous animals' food, and, of course, antibiotics! Don't even get me started on GMOs-I will discuss patent-protected, genetically modified plants in a later discussion.
But. occasionally the same "national leaders" have a National Referendum telling Americans they're too fat...helping them justify all of the above?
I'm not saying there isn't a role for all of us to take as our personal responsibility for our health, and for food producers to be responsible in the products they sell...but please...don't be misled. Like your mother taught you: don't believe everything you hear.
You must have guessed by reading the title that I have gone over-the-edge, right? Just the title sounds nasty.
Not really...My husband and I have shoveled, thrown, blown and cleared more snow and ice than ever--Ellis Avenue alley is cleared thanks to hubby, his snowblower, and about 5 hours of labor.
Still working at it, though now at the Farm. Here, the animals and quite happy and cozy. The cows are laying in the sun (no fooling), the horses mindlessly munching and the cats cozied in the barn with enough food to last them all winter. Thank you Cory and Blake for seeing them through the blizzard by stocking them up when it was starting! Thank you Vincent Plowing for clearing our driveway!
Thank you to all the road crews from Chicago to Hanover--your work is much appreciated and, if you could see the hills of snow piled up, you would wonder how they could accomplish it all!
I hope everyone is getting their share of something like this for dinner along with at least 10 hours sleep!
Chicken Fried Steak
4 -8 0z Ribeyes, pounded thin
1 cup of flour, seasoned heavily with salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder (your favorite chicken breading seasonings)--put this onto a plate for dredging
Skillet filled about 1/2 inch deep vegetable or canola oil.
Egg wash (1 egg, beaten with 1 tbsp water)-OR-1/2 stick butter, melted in a flat bowl.
Preheat oil for frying. Dip pieces of steak into either egg or butter, then coat with seasoned flour. Fry 2 pieces at a time in heated oil, flipping once.
Serve with--you know what's coming-->mashed potatoes and chicken or sausage gravy and your favorite mixed vegetables.
Sometimes, you just have to do it!
A comfort food is definitely needed today--way too many snow drifts will have beaten you down by dinner time. On the plus side, a TV commentator reflected that snow-shoveling is as good a workout as a match of Tennis.
So, after playing several tennis matches in bitterly cold weather, I'm sure your family and friends would like a bowl of Shepherd's Pie.
For the topping, first cook and mash 4 large potatoes, adding salt, pepper and butter to taste. Set aside. I have never personally tried using "prepared mashed potatoes" or sweet potatoes--but theoretically, they could work, too. I have used a mixture of cauliflower and regular potatoes and it is perfectly delicious.
For the filling:
2 lbs of ground beef (or turkey or lamb)
1 c. chopped onions
2-3 carrots, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 c. beef broth (or boullion, or other broth, as available), whisked with 1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp each Worchestershire sauce and tomato paste (no paste? OK to use same amount of ketchup OR use an 8 0z can of tomato sauce, reducing amount of broth to 1/4 cup if sauce if used)
Your favorite Herb blend (with thyme, parsley, rosemary, oregano, basil) --about 1 tbsp. dried herbs
To Make the Filling: In a large skillet, thoroughly brown the meat and cook through, drain off any excess grease. Add fresh vegetables, cook together until fresh vegetables are soft. Mix in the liquids and herbs, adjusting seasoning and cooking until sauce thickens a bit.
Remove from heat and then add, Frozen or canned corn and peas, 1 c. each (Note: you can vary the items and amounts of: celery, corn and peas, according to what's available in your pantry and freezer. You can even substitute other beans or legumes if you'd like--don't stress about this part).
To Assemble: Put mixture into an oven proof casserole dish that has been spray- prepped with some canola oil. Using a spatula, dollop mashed potatoes on top, then spread over surface of meat mixture. Sprinkle a little paprika or chopped parsley on top for color (or shredded cheese if you want)
Put the casserole dish on top of a cooking sheet in case you get bubble-over. Bake at 400* for 20-30 minutes until potatoes are browned.
So, play some more tennis matches with the snow drifts. It won't be so depressing, knowing that you can replenish your calories with this easy comfort food.
"It was a dark and snowy night... "
You know, the beginning of spooky stories, that start similarly, except the "snowy" is usually phrased as "stormy"...
Trust me, snowy is worse.
I was a character in that short story--an awful experience tonight, trapped in this on-going Blizzard that is hitting the central part of the country. IT could have been a non-issue, except, as fate would have it...
Well, you know there's always more to every story , so here goes...
My shift at work today was supposed to be from 6AM until 2 PM. If all had gone as planned, I would have been tucked inside my house by the time the sun set and the blizzard started. Instead. my relief physician "forgot" that today was February 1st and never checked his schedule and failed to show up to work. He was otherwise occupied at his other job when I realized the problem and when he was already 30 minutes late.
No worries, I called the double coverage doctor scheduled for later, who graciously agreed to come in early. At that point, I would have still been way ahead of the storm. But...the storm started while Dr. Numero Two was en route and instead of a quick 30 minutes, it took him over 2 hours to make the trip he'd already started when I reached him by phone in the car. so...
I left my job at 4:30 PM and entered into what I can only compare to...
THE TWILIGHT ZONE.
After two hours of driving in packed snow, never above 15 miles an hour, I finally reached Lake Shore Drive just in time to enter the epicenter of white-out conditions. Even though my house was only a couple of miles away, I couldn't even visualize an exit. In fact, I couldn't see anything but the flasher lights of the car in front of me. And that was only visible through a small arc of clean window because everything else on the outside of my car was encased in ice, including the front and back windshield wiper blades, despite on-going window heaters and wiper fluid (allegedly rated to -20* F).
I kept following the car in front of me, the only thing I could see, until 57 th Street, where a small caravan of cars were exiting together and I could, at least, "sense" the presence of an exit lane.
I got off and hobbled past the Museum of Science and Industry (know it's there, but couldn't see it!), back to 53rd Street, to Woodlawn, ending up finally going down the alley to the garage.
I say "hobbled" because it's the only word that reflects the handicapped position I was in and alone, I'm certain I would have never made it. Except that I did have...
my Guardian Angel, front-and-center, guiding the wheels. I have no other explanation for how I made it home except for the grace of God and the hard work of my personal guardian.