Another Sunday in the Kitchen

A wintry Sunday in January is the perfect day for spending some quality time in my kitchen. As I’ve said before, Sundays are home n hearth days around here.

Today I made a batch of chili and a big pot o’ creamy chicken soup to have on hand for easy eating over the next few days. I really enjoy soup for lunch this time of year and both make great supper leftovers alone or put with something else. My 16 year old girlie-night owl likes to have good food to reheat at midnight or 2am and soup fits the bill nicely I’m told.

I watched The Pioneer Woman’s Food Network show yesterday and was inspired to make her Flat Apple Pie. Any of y’all watched her show yet? I’ve watched from the beginning and she’s doing so well–the show was fun to watch from the first one but the new season shows show Ree much more relaxed and conversational. Bravo to all! 

I took the easy way out and used a pie crust I had left in the freezer from the holiday stash. The reviews were thumbs up all around with my family–which I expected since they’re all already apple pie fans.

The fun thing about this Flat Apple Pie is that it’s sliced like pizza and super easy to pick up and eat. Needless to say, that makes it disappear fast when folks can just walk by and grab a slice!

As this Sunday winds down, my book is saving my cozy couch spot. What’s cooking at your house?

On This Sunday

Sundays are home n hearth days around here, regardless of the season. On Sundays during the w-i-n-t-e-r season, we cook good food, watch a game or a movie together, sometimes play a card game or two, I always read quite a bit in there somewhere as well as work the crossword puzzle–the overall point is to relax and rejuvenate.

Today I’m in the kitchen a big part of the day, as I’ve plans to do a bit of cooking up to make good, hearty meals easier on days when the stuff of life takes us away from the kitchen either mentally, physically or both. Yes, this is relaxing to me as I cook, talk with my teenagers and that Husband o’ mine amid a ball game or reading a book as I work…ah, Sundays.

Over there is a snapshot of my scribble whiteboard I jotted a few things on so I wouldn’t have to look my list up on the my phone with kitchen hands(not that I don’t do that rather often as it is). I’ve added boiling eggs and a couple more things to the list since I snapped the pic.

Washing and chopping salad green or boiling eggs  may seem like an easy chore, but when I’m amid writing or taxi-ing a teen somewhere, having those greens ready to toss into my bowl and top accordingly means the difference in a healthy, sustaining lunch or a crash later in the day where I feel terrible and get nothing accomplished. It has taken me 40 years to learn this n some days it still doesn’t stick ~shrug~

I’m one of those cooks that when I find a recipe we like, I typically don’t mess around or experiment with it after that. However, I ran across John Besh’s recipe for stuffed peppers recently–SUCH a good book, more on that sometime. This recipe has the added bonus of a bit of cinnamon. Cinnamon in a savory dish is not something I’ve much experience with.

Thanks to some feedback from friends regarding cinnamon and savory cooking as well as the fact that I really like Chef Besh and many of his other recipes, I’m going to give it a go.

What are your habits of a Sunday, do tell?

Home Cooking/Kitchen Tips

What a wonderful whirlwind the holidays were around here! In recent years, that has not been the case, as our holidays were relatively quiet at home. While those quieter holidays bring special memories of their own, this year’s whirlwind of visiting with family/friends and activities was a fun one. Happy New Year, y’all!

I was reading my newest cookbook a couple of nights ago (more about that book to come later) and started thinking about some of the kitchen and cooking tips I’ve read/heard in the years since I started paying attention. See, once upon a time, I was a boxed-hamburger-helper-and-a-can-of-peas/corn/green beans cooker…and called that supper. I know!  

While I am far from gourmet, I did learn to cook from scratch and do so most of the time.  My current point is that kitchen tips are plentiful on television, in cookbooks and online. While many said tips make sense, some don’t work for me or I don’t want to be bothered with them.

I think this is the  key  for truly helpful tips: realizing that your kitchen and your cooking style is yours and what works for a Food Network chef on teevee or your best friend’s family might not work for your family . It might, but it might not.

Here are a few tips/comments I have found to be not only useful in daily cooking around here but also in keeping me inspired in the kitchen:

  • As cliche as it sounds, starting the day off with a clean kitchen really makes a difference for me. Mind you, I am not one that likes to bother much with the kitchen clean up after supper–I get food put away and dishes stacked and head over to the couch. However, on the occasion that I start the dishwasher n clean up the sink, it brings a smile to my face the next morning. I like to cook and I find it is so nice to come into a clean kitchen the next morning–quite inspiring, really, to come up/choose with great recipes and spend time in the kitchen if I don’t have to clean it before cooking.
  • Treat your sink as a valued utensil or kitchen gadget. I first heard this from Rachael Ray awhile back. This means keeping the sink clean and clear of clutter. Not just clean, but sanitary. Ooo. This is a tough one for me to accomplish on a regular basis (see above after-supper habits) but it really does work.
  •  Stock your pantry with basics that will give you options your family enjoys. There are basic pantry lists all over the Internet, in books, and many cooks and chefs will gladly tell you their list. However, your pantry needs to be tailored to how you cook and how your family eats. Take some time to browse some of these lists and make your own. Some Wednesday night when you can put together a hearty supper with minimal effort, you’ll be so glad you did. Trust me.

  • Pick a recipe or two and learn to do them well. There are SO many good things to choose from, I know. This doesn’t mean you can’t do a variety, have at it. But if you perfect a couple of family favorites to where you can do them amid one teen telling you about an ebay auction while also helping prep food and commenting on your cooking method, the dawg(see pic to the left–aaww) underfoot hoping you’ll drop tidbits, the handsome husband you haven’t seen all day coming in the door, the other teen asking when we’re going to the library, the tv, the laughs, the yells and so on, a good supper ends up on the table in the craziest of circumstances.

While those are just a few of the many tips and tricks that have come my way over time, they are the ones that came to mind easily as they are truly helpful and useful in my daily life.

Do you have some tried n true kitchen or cooking tips to share?  Won’t you share in the comments here or on Facebook ?
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