Thursday, January 29, 2009

The BBQ Report

BBQ is such an interesting type of food because unlike almost any other food where there are clearly defined lines as to its origin; bbq is claimed by the entire country. Everyone from the north to the south claims that they have the best way of creating bbq. Even Native Americans were known to bbq their meat. In the U.S. we have four broad categories when it comes to how you prefer your bbq: Kansas City, Memphis, Texas and North Carolina. They differ based on what type of wood you use (some say hickory others swear by oak) to what kind of sauce (dry rub, wet sauce, vinegar, sugar, etc.). The interesting thing about what most people refer to as bbq is that it actually isn't. BBQ by definition is a "method and apparatus for cooking food, often meat, with the heat and hot gases of a fire, smoking wood, or hot coals of charcoal" (I quote wikipedia) So unless you're firing up the barbie at home you aren't actually making bbq. Even so I'm not one to be a stickler for the rules. I make "bbq" about once a month and no it isn't over fire, smoking wood or hot's in the slow cooker. I'm sure a lot of southerners just rolled over in their graves.

I do love my slow cooker though and try to use it as much as possible. T.H. and I received one as a wedding present from a very sweet lady in our church. The problem was it was so tiny that you couldn't even fit one chicken breast inside without having to cut it in half. I think it must have been one of those tiny slow cookers intended only for making dips but T.H and I made whole meals in it for about five months! You know it goes back to my motto "make it work!" So for Christmas I decided to ask for a large 6qt slow cooker. One I could put whole pieces of meat in without having to cut it up first. On Christmas morning I happily unwrapped my Hamilton Beach Stay n Go 6qt slow cooker and I've been using it ever since. This recipe for bbq could not be any simpler. For people who say you can't cook yes you can! This has literally zero prep work. Make it and you'll be everyone's best friend.

Slow Cooker BBQ from allrecipes

1. 1 (2.5-3 pd.) boneless chuck roast (I used an angus roast)
2. 1 tsp. garlic powder
3. 1 tsp. onion powder
4. 1 (18 ounce.) bottle of bbq sauce (I like to use Sweet Baby Ray's but you could always make your own sauce)

1. Place roast into the slow cooker. Sprinkle with garlic powder and onion powder, and season with salt and pepper. Pour barbeque sauce over meat. Cook on Low for 6 to 8 hours. (I recommend 8. It makes it easier to shred)
2. Remove meat from slow cooker, shred, and return to slow cooker. Cook for 1 more hour. Serve hot.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tim Gunn in the kitchen

My husband and I try to do one big grocery run at the beginning of the month and a small "odds and ends" run towards the middle of the month. I plan our meals for the ENTIRE month before we go to the store. This prevents us from just walking the aisles throwing random items in the cart and then getting home and having to figure out what I can make with what I have. Our monthly food budget including eating out is between 200-300 dollars. That's basically $3.00 each for breakfast, lunch and dinner per day. The problem with this setup is that the end of the month means my supplies are dwindling. Tonight I looked in the frig and the pantry and nothing really jumped out at me. I joke that I have become the Tim Gunn of the kitchen because my motto is ,"make it work!" When I only have a few ingredients I throw something together and use my creativity to just "make it work." Tonight I realized that we had the ingredients for tuna casserole. Yup...this is probably the same exact casserole your mom made you when you were a kid. It's cheap, it's quick and it's pretty tasty. I didn't take a photo because I didn't think the recipe warranted it. It's so simple I can hardly say it's even cooking! But here it is just in case you have never had it and are interested in trying. I honestly have no idea where the recipe came from. I'm guessing it's a Campbells recipe but I'm not sure.

1. 1 can cream of mushroom soup
2. egg noodles
3. 2 cans of tuna
4. 1 cup frozen peas
5. 1 tbsp. butter

1. Cook egg noodles until they are al dente (approximately 12 minutes). Make sure to salt the water slightly.
2. Drain egg noodles into a colander and then return them to the pot they cooked in.
3. Add the cream of mushroom soup
4. Add the two cans of tuna (drained and flaked up)
5. Adding the butter is optional but my mom always used it so I do.
6. Add the frozen peas
7. Mix the whole thing together until well incorporated

Voila! You have a circa 1985 meal the whole family will love!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

First Post!

I have been wanting to start a food blog for ages and I have finally gotten around to doing so! As a newylwed I am constantly looking online for interesting recipes to try out on The Hubs (we'll call him T.H.) and I like the idea that I could possibly help someone in the kitchen! I am in love with my Mama and Granny's cooking but asking for recipes from them is like pulling teeth. I get the same standard response every time. "I don't have a recipe for that. I just throw a little of this in and a little of that in until it tastes right." Ugh! Because of this I get SUPER excited when I try to recreate one of their recipes and it tastes exactly as it should. The recipe below is one such occasion. I had tried to make this for T.H. while we were dating in college and oh boy it was wretched. I think because I didn't use any bacon grease. As unheatlhy as it is it really does make the dish and afterall this is comfort shouldn't have to think about cholesterol when you eat comfort food! This time I made sure to make it per my mom's instructions and it turned out perfect! I feel like a real grownup when this happens, haha. When my sister and I were still living at home my Mama made this soup for us all the time (primarily because I asked for it all the time). It's great with leftover ham from a nice dinner but it's equally good with just plain ole deli lunch meat. So here it is my first blog post ever: White Bean and Ham Soup.

1. 1 to 1 1/2 cups of ham cubed
2. 2 stalks of celery diced
3. 2 carrots diced
4. 1 small onion diced
5. 2-3 cans of Luck's Northern Beans (my mom said it must be Lucks) do not drain
6. 1 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes
7. bacon grease (approximately 2 tbsps)
8. pepper

* If you don't keep bacon grease on hand (I realize a lot of people don't!) then make some bacon for breakfast and reserve the drippings. A pound of bacon should do the trick.

1. In a stockpot, heat the bacon grease on medium heat and add the onion in. Let cook until the onion begins to carmelize.
2. Add the ham and cook for another 10 minutes.
3. Add celery, carrots and beans
4. Add tomatoes (you mostly just want the juice and only a few chunks of tomatoes) I put in a about 1/3 of a can .
5. Add enough water to cover the entire mixture. I usually fill up one of the bean cans halfway with water and that is all I need.
6. Add LOTS of pepper. The soup is supposed to be spicy and my mom always achieved this by just adding copious amounts of black pepper. I've heard some people add tabasco sauce instead.

Cook the soup on medium high heat for about 30-45 minutes.

I hope you all will love this soup! The best thing is it really is better the day after you make it so leftovers will go quickly!