Everyday recipes, life and craziness from Jen's house.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon and Mustard


A few weeks ago, I ran across a great deal on cauliflower.  It was on sale for $.85 per head.  Yes, 85 cents per head!  Wow, what a sale!  I've been paying up to $2.39 a head.  So I went a little cauliflower crazy.  I like cauliflower, it's one of the few veggies that Jeff will eat (besides corn) and Jacob likes it, too.  So it was a no brainer to go cauliflower crazy.  Except I already had a head of cauliflower in the refrigerator and Jeff had just left for training in California.  So that meant three huge heads of cauliflower in my refrigerator and only two people eating it!  After eating raw cauliflower, broccoli and cauliflower salad, cauliflower soup and cauliflower casserole, I found a recipe on the Tasty Kitchen website for roasted cauliflower that I tweaked a bit.  I thought it was very good and I can't wait to make this again.  I still have cauliflower in the refrigerator, so this will be on the menu this week.

Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon and Mustard
  • Half of a head cauliflower, cleaned and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1-1/2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1-1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
In a microwave safe bowl, melt the butter.  Stir in the olive oil, add the mustards, the lemon juice and salt and pepper,   Stir until combined.  Place the prepared cauliflower into a large bowl.  Pour the mustard mixture over the cauliflower.  Stir to combine. 

Spread the cauliflower into a 9 x 13 baking dish.  Roast in the oven for about 45-50 minutes.  Stir every 15 minutes. 


Sunday, February 12, 2012

I'm Back!

It has been a very long time since I've blogged last.  But guess what???  I'm BACK!  At the end of last summer, I decided to stop blogging...or at least postpone blogging until I was done with my dissertation.  Well, you know what?  I'm not done with my dissertation but I like blogging.  I've missed blogging.  I like cooking and writing about my adventures in the kitchen.  I like sharing my recipes, triumphs and tribulations in the kitchen.  I've missed taking pictures of food and I've missed writing in this arena.  So here I am...I am BACK!

Since I haven't written since July (yes, it's been that long!) I thought I'd update you on what's been going on in my kitchen (and life) for the past several months.  Jeff and I have made a few major decisions in regards to our life...
  • The biggest decision is that after 20 years of Active Duty, Jeff is retiring from the Army in September 2012.  Due to built up vacation time, he'll stop working at the end of May.  That's right around the corner!  
I grew up in the house in the upper left hand corner.  West Point, Maine
      Iowa  http://ww1.prweb.com/prfiles/2006/10/25/462695/corn.jpg 

  • For years and years, we've talked about where we would retire...I'm from Maine, he's from Iowa, and we've lived everywhere in between.  So we've decided to stay here in Kansas.  This was a hard decision for me to make.  I never thought I'd live in Kansas longer than the Army said.  The first few years we were here, I couldn't wait to move.  And now, Kansas has really grown on me.  I actually like it!  
  • I have a new kitchen to cook in and I love my new kitchen!  Since we've decided to stay in Kansas, we bought a new house and sold our old house!  Our new house is more us.  It's bigger, it's open, it's comfortable, it's home.  There are kids for Jacob to play with in our neighborhood, we have friendly neighbors and we finally have space for a garden!  We're here to stay for a while.

So I look forward to being back in the blogging world.  I look forward to writing, cooking and sharing what goes on in my kitchen!  And I hope you'll join me for this continued adventure! 

Thanks for sticking with me and reading my blog!  :)

    Sunday, July 17, 2011

    Garlic Steak

    It has been hot here in Kansas lately.  How hot?  Really hot.  It's been over 100* for the past several days, with 100's forecasted for the next week.  The heat index has ranged from 105*-120*.  As a side note, even though I'm complaining about the heat, I know that I am lucky to have air conditioning.  I'm not working outside.  I can wear shorts, tank tops and sandals.  I'm not wearing 60 or so pounds combat gear walking patrols in the Middle East.  So while it's hot in Kansas, it's really not that bad.

    Soldiers running across flight-line

    So anyways...it's hot in Kansas.  Too hot to fire up my oven...even too hot to use my stove.  So last night for supper we had garlic steak, potatoes, corn on the cob...cooked on the grill.  We also had broccoli and cauliflower salad and cole slaw.  Yum! 
    Garlic Steak
    1/2 c. butter, softened

    4 cloves of garlic, minced
    1 t. garlic powder
    1/8 t. Worcestershire Sauce
    1 T. parsley
    1/8 t. pepper (fresh ground is great!)
    Steak (your choice...we usually have ribeyes)

    Preheat your grill for high heat.  Mix the softened butter with the garlic, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, parsley and pepper.  Sprinkle both sides of the steaks with salt and pepper.  (I like Penzey's Smoky 4/S Special Seasoned Salt)  Grill steaks 4-6 minutes per side, or to desired doneness.  Baste each side of the steaks with the garlic butter while grilling.  When steaks are done, remove from grill and brush the steaks liberally with the garlic butter.  Allow to rest 2-3 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!  

    The garlic butter is also really great on bread, potatoes, or anything that you want a garlic-y taste! 

    Wednesday, July 13, 2011

    Watermelon and Feta Salad

    So I should be writing my dissertation, but here I am blogging instead.  It's writing, right??? 

    A few days ago, I stumbled across a recipe for Watermelon and Feta salad.  I didn't really look at the recipe, and I have no idea where I saw it.  Magazine?  Internet?  Cookbook?  Last night I figured I'd experiment.  I googled Watermelon and Feta salad, I googled the ingredients, and in the end, I decided to just to play around with the flavors.  I was expecting something that was OK, but when your 9 year old son is yelling about how good it is and asking for more, I knew I had something to share!  It is sweet, salty, creamy and crunchy, with a little minty-ness going on.  YUM!

    Watermelon and Feta Salad

    2 cups chopped watermelon
    1/3 c. diced feta cheese
    2 T. diced red onion
    1-1/2 T. dried mint (fresh mint would be fabulous in this dish...but all I had was dried.)
    1-1/2 T. olive oil
    1-1/2 T. lemon juice
    1/2 t. honey
    pinch of salt
    1/8 t. pepper

    In a bowl, mix the watermelon, feta, red onion and mint together.  In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, honey and salt/pepper together.  Pour over the watermelon mixture and chill until ready to serve.  Enjoy~

    I can't wait to make this again!  This is not my picture, but it looks like what I made!

    Tuesday, July 12, 2011

    Drink of the Summer...Spiced Limeade

    I think I've found my new drunk drink for the summer!  It is so good, so refreshing, so easy and once you make it, you'll be making it over and over again!  It is hot, hot, HOT in Kansas right now, and this adult beverage will cool you down.  Just be careful (speaking from experience here), it goes down very easy.  All you need are four ingredients:  ice, water, frozen limeade concentrate and Captain Morgan Spiced Rum. 

    Did you know that Captain Morgan was a real person?  According to http://www.captainmorgan.com,

    "In 1654 a young Henry Morgan left his native Wales for the West Indies. He never looked back. A born leader, he quickly made became Captain Henry Morgan and became famous as a legal pirate or Buccaneer, defending British interests and generally rocking the Caribbean.  Captain Morgan’s awesome exploits on the high seas earned him a knighthood and by 1680 Sir Henry Morgan was a plantation owner and Governor of Jamaica. There he lived out his final days until his death in 1688.
    Centuries later Henry Morgan became the figurehead for a company that became as famous as the man himself… The Captain Morgan Rum Company."
     OK, OK, I'm finally getting to the recipe...

    Spiced Limeade
    1 can frozen limeade concentrate
    1 can water
    1 can Captain Morgan's Original Spiced Rum

    In a pitcher mix the limeade concentrate, water and rum together.  Chill.  When ready to serve, fill a glass completely with ice (this is important!)  Pour the limeade mixture over the ice.  Garnish with a slice of lime.  Enjoy~

    Although I haven't tried this, I'm sure it would be great...fill a blender full of ice, pour the limeade mixture over the ice and blend!  Frozen Spiced Limeade!
    Now that I've spent the last 37 minutes writing this post, I guess I should get back to writing my dreaded dissertation.  pffftttt...

    Wednesday, June 29, 2011

    Helen's BBQ Meatballs and a Walk Down Memory Lane

    June 17, 1995
    BBQ Meatballs
    1-1/2 pounds ground beef
    1-1/2 c. oats
    ½ c. milk
    1 egg
    ½ chopped onion
    1/2 t. garlic powder
    ¾ t. pepper
    1 t. salt

    Mix all ingredients together and form into 12 meatballs.  Place in a greased 9x13 baking pan.  Pour sauce over meatballs.  Cover with tin foil and bake at 350* for 1-1/2 hours. This recipe is easily doubled (or even tripled!)  just remember to double (or triple!) the sauce.  Enjoy~

    BBQ Sauce
    1 c. ketchup
    ¾ c. brown sugar
    1 T. liquid smoke
    1/2 t. garlic powder
    ½ onion, chopped

    Mix all ingredients together and pour over uncooked meatballs.

    This is my mother-in-law Helen’s recipe.  She made these meatballs one of the first times I visited their house in Iowa.  16 years later, I still enjoy when she makes them!  Since Jeff and I just celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary, I decided to take a walk down memory lane.  We didn’t have the typical dating life, engagement, wedding or even first year of marriage.  (I think most military families can relate!) I’m not sure what I expected, but my life has turned out far better than I ever imagined! 

    Dating:  Jeff and I met in Wiesbaden, Germany.  We were both in the Army and lived in the same barracks building.  One Saturday night in February 1994, Jeff and I went to a party together.  Two days later, he left for Norway for about 3 weeks.  The day he returned from Norway, there he was knocking on my door, still smelling like wood smoke, asking if I’d like to watch a movie. And the rest is history!  During the months we dated, we spent time apart due to Army life…field problems and work schedules.  (Throw in two broken arms from a bike accident and a 30 day convalescent leave to Maine)  

    Engagement:  In March of 1995, Jeff’s two years in Germany were up and he was on his way to Ft. Rucker, Alabama for training and then on to Ft. Benning, Georgia.  I was due to move to Ft. Riley, Kansas in January 1995.    One night shortly after Jeff left Germany, I got a phone call from him.  You have to remember that this was before everyone cell phones…in my barracks there was one phone per floor, which was sitting on the floor in the hallway.  No table, no chair, just a phone sitting on the floor.  So there I was, in my pajamas, sitting on the floor in the hallway talking on the phone when Jeff asked me to marry him!  We decided to get married on June 17, 1995 in Maine and he would send me my engagement ring.  A week or so later, I got my engagement ring in the mail!  While I was waiting for my ring, I stalked the mail room every day.  I would check it at lunch, just in case, and then beg to leave work just a little bit early so I could check again.  Then one day, it was there!  I was officially engaged, ring and all!  I have never run into anyone else who received their engagement ring in the mail!    

    Our wedding:  My parents pretty much planned our wedding (thanks Mum and Dad!)  I told them the date, the church I wanted to be married in, the color of flowers for bouquets and away they went!  I flew to Maine on Sunday, bought my wedding dress on Tuesday, Jeff flew in on Wednesday, bought our wedding rings on Thursday, his parents few in on Friday and we got married on Saturday.  I flew back to Germany on Thursday and Jeff flew back to Georgia on Friday.  Call it a whirl-wind wedding, but it was perfect!  Beautiful weather, beautiful church, beautiful reception at my parent’s house on the ocean.  I have such happy memories of our wedding…even though my mum fell down in the church and hurt her thumb.  In all of the pictures, she has her thumb up, Fonzie style…not because she thought she was cool, but because her thumb hurt!

    Our first year of marriage:  We lived apart for the first 6 months of being married.  I lived in Germany, Jeff lived in Georgia.  On Christmas Day 1995, I left Germany.  Thanks, Kathy Silver for driving me to the airport!   I finally arrived in Iowa Christmas night and Jeff and I had our first married Christmas together.  1996 began with us living in a small apartment in Columbus, Georgia.  Jeff was on flight status and had a crazy schedule with lots of TDY’s, schools and field time…in short, he was gone a lot!  However, he was home on our first anniversary, 17 June 1996, which was spent with dinner out and tickets to an Olympic softball game a few weeks later.

    And so there you have it,  the highlights of dating, getting engaged, getting married and our first year together!  All brought to you by my mother-in-law’s meatballs.

    These are not my meatballs, they are from PW.
     I am at the car dealership...waiting for my car to be serviced and I forgot my SD card with my meatball pictures!  So, PW's picture will have to do!  :)

    Monday, June 13, 2011

    Orange Couscous Salad

     I love salads...green salads, pasta salads, potato salads...all kinds of salads!  Especially in the summer time when it's hot.  There's nothing like having a cold salad for dinner as a meal, or along with some sort of grilled meat.  Yumm.  Check out my other Couscous salad recipe!  Couscous Salad

    So last week, I wanted to make some couscous salad, however, I was out of feta cheese, which in my opinion, goes very well with couscous in a salad.  Instead, I googled couscous salad recipes and found this one from Eat Better America.  And of course, I changed up the recipe to fit my tastes.  This salad is a define "make again."  In fact, I can't wait to make it again this week! 

    Couscous Fruit Salad

    1 (10 ounce) package plain uncooked couscous
     1 orange, zested and juiced
    1 lemon, zested and juiced
    2 T. olive oil
    3/4 t. salt
    1/4 t. pepper
    1 t. oregano
    1 t. parsley
    3 green onions, sliced (white and green part)
    1/4 c. dried cranberries (Craisins)
    1/4 c. raisins
    1/4 c. green grapes, quartered
    1 can Mandarin oranges, drained
    2 T. sliced almonds

    Cook the couscous according to the package directions.  Fluff with a fork and set aside.

    Zest the orange and lemon into a small bowl.  After zesting, juice the orange and lemon.  Add the olive oil, salt, pepper, oregano and parsley.  Whisk the ingredients together.

    Mix the green onions, dried cranberries, raisins, grapes and almonds together with the couscous.  Add the dressing and mix together.  Fold in the Mandarin oranges.  Chill and serve.  Enjoy~