Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Carne Picada - Just what does it mean?

Some time ago I bought a package of meat labeled 'Carne Picada' from Wal-Mart. The meat was something like a cross between ground beef and beef steak cut in strips. It's absolutely fantastic cooked in a skillet with sliced onins until the meat is just slightly pink then topped with shredded cheese. Rod eats his between slices of bread and I just pile it on a plate and eat it with a fork. It reminds me of the steak used in a Philly sandwich or omelet.

Anyway, we picked some of that up at Wal-Mart a couple of days ago and I'll more than likely use it this weekend.

But I wonder... what the heck does 'Carne Picada' mean? A google search turns up many references to it and several that claim it means 'minced meat' but this meat isn't minced. It isn't quite ground, either. It's more like shredded.

So, do any of you know what Carne Picada means and do you know the meat I'm talking about?

Also, if you have other ideas on how to use it, I'd love to know them!

Today's excitement

My youngest son's girlfriend came over this morning and we went to Target. I had a gift card with $27 on it and we both needed a few things so we shopped a little and had a nice time together. She got a great little Chefmate slow cooker for $8.99 and we both bought some clearanced food items including red and green enchilada sauces, refried beans, and taco shells. Those are nice items to add to the pantry. Ole!

They also had some clearanced Del Monte canned vegetables but I didn't have my coupons with me so I'll take the coupons with me tomorrow and get a few cans of vegetables to add to our pantry.

After shopping we went to lunch then she had to head out to get her son from school so I came back home and am about to head out again to do laundry.

Tonight's dinner is wild rice with beef roast gravy, green beans, and salad. Yum!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tonight's dinner & a little grocery shopping

I got home from work about 6:00 PM and was very hungry so I ate the beef roast, vegetables and gravy I'd taken for lunch and hadn't had time to eat. DH shared it with me then we went to Wal-Mart to get our free redbox rental. While there we bought a few groceries, about $19 worth. We decided that tomorrow night's dinner will be the gravy leftover from the roast with a little bit of the meat cut up into it, served over wild rice and with a salad and green beans. It won't be quite meatless but will be very close and will be both tasty and frugal.

I'm off tomorrow and don't go back to work until 2:45 Thursday so I'll probably make the slow cooked smoked chicken Thursday. If I get it started early I can take some to work to eat during my lunch break. So, that's my plan.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Minor change to tonight's dinner

Rather than make gravy with the broth, spices, and cornstarch, I decided to make Ray's 3 Envelope Roast then when I realized I lacked one of the four ingredients, I adapted it slightly to use what I had on hand. Oh, the resulting roast and vegetables are amazing! Ray's recipe is so good I don't know why I bother cooking a roast any other way and tonight's dinner reminded me of that! The gravy that it makes is excellent and the meat turns out tender every time. I'll take some of the leftovers to work with me tomorrow and if my coworkers are nice, I might share!

So, without further fuss, here's the recipe Ray shares with others in his PressureCookerRecipes Yahoo Group.

3 pound roast
1 envelope of dry Italian salad dressing mix (I didn't have this on hand so I used an envelope of chicken gravy mix)
1 envelope of dry ranch salad dressing mix
1 envelope of dry brown gravy mix
Water - for a pressure cooker 1 cup water for slow cooker 1/2 cup water in a slow cooker.

In a slow cooker you can cut in half the dry ingredients if you find it overpowering. In the pressure cooker use the whole envelopes.

Put the water in a measuring cup that is larger than the amount of water you are using. Now add and mix all three envelopes of dry salad dressings. Mix until blended completely or as best you can.

Brown the roast, if desired. I brown it in the PC itself. Add the meat to your cooker. Pour the water and salad dressing mixture over the roast and cook as usual. I cooked mine tonight for 20 minutes, then used quick release, and added the vegetables and cooked another 15 minutes.

If you want to make this in a slow cooker, cook it on high for about 4 hours on low about 8 hours.

Menu Plan Monday and menu for the week

I decided to join Laura at I'm An Organizing Junkie for her Menu Plan Monday. It looks like a fun way to keep my menu planning on track and I can always use ideas for meals. I've read some of the other MPM posts and it sounds like there are some great cooks out there. Since I'm a fly by the seat of my pants kinda gal and like a little freedom in my planning and cooking, I plan the meals but rarely assign nights and menus are subject to change. We do try to keep to the general plan, though, since that's part of our budgeting efforts.

So in no particular order except for tonight's dinner of beef roast, here are the meals for the next week.

Beef roast cooked in my Cook's Essentials 8 quart pressure cooker with carrots, potatoes, and onions. Gravy will be made in the cooker, also, using the cooking liquid, spices, and a little cornstarch.

Beef vegetable soup made with the leftover roast and vegetables. If there's any soup leftover it will be frozen and later thickened and used to make beef pot pie.

Slow cooked "smoked" chicken. To make this, I season well a whole chicken with garlic, freshly ground black pepper and a little salt and throw it in the slow cooker with about 2 Tablespoons of Liquid Smoke and cook it all day. The meat falls off the bone, is moist and savory and has a very nice smoked flavor. We'll have some of the chicken with large salads and green beans.

Chicken and rice made with the leftover chicken, rice pulled from the freezer, and served with cooked mixed greens and tossed salad.

Scrambled eggs, turkey bacon and wheat toast.

Red beans and rice with salad.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Saturday and Sunday night's eatin'...

When I got home from work tonight I was ravenous so I ate some leftover split pea soup from a few days ago. It was good but not quite filling so DH took me to Long John Silver's. After eating a #9 with an extra piece of fish, I'm stuffed!

I have limas soaking and will put them in the slow cooker in the morning before I head off to work. I'll spice them a little and add some turkey pastrami and they'll be yummy! We'll have them with a salad and that meal will be both thrifty and hearty.

I'm working on my menu for the next week right now and will post it tonight or in the morning.

Friday, April 25, 2008

The cost of food

is outrageous! Between gas and food, it's a wonder any of us can get to work to earn money to buy food so we can have the energy to drive to work to earn money to buy food... yada, yada, ad nauseam.

Anyway, tonight's dinner is spaghetti made with whole wheat spaghetti bought on sale & with a coupon, sauce bought on sale and with a coupon, and 1/3 lb. of ground beef, alos bought on sale but with no coupon. Since there are only two of us eating there's no need to make a ton of it so I'm making just enough for dinner and lunch tomorrow. We'll have it with green beans and some garlic bread. Not too exciting but pretty good and inexpensive.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

No exciting food news...

I've been working a lot lately so the meals have been very easy and quick ones.

Tonight we went to the local Chinese/Italian/American buffet. I haven't tried the Italian food as it looks pretty rough to me but the other dishes are very good. I always overeat, though! That's the bad things about buffets, I think. It's simply too easy to eat too much.

I've ordered some Insulow in the hopes that supplementing my diet with that will help me get a better handle on my blood sugar. I've heard some very good things about it and will post the results here.

Other than that, life rocks on...and on...and on. :)

Friday, April 18, 2008

Denise's skillet stuff....

Tonight was another quick and cheap dinner. It's one I've made for so long that I can't remember where I learned about it. Not that it's hard but it isn't something I grew up eating. My kids liked it when they were little and it's very easy to make. I just call it "skillet stuff".

Here's how it's done:

Brown chopped potatoes and green onion in a little olive oil and add some garlic pepper seasoning salt or whatever seasoning you like. When the potatoes are done, add a few slices of smoked sausage (we use beef or turkey) and a can of green beans. Season it a little more if needed and heat through. We usually have it with a tossed salad and now and then a little garlic bread.

I've made it with green peas rather than green beans and have used many seasonings over the years but our favorite is the green beans and garlic pepper seasoning salt.

Tomorrow's dinner is soaking right now - beans! Yes, the humble bean will grace our serving bowls tomorrow night. :)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Chicken & dressing, yum yum!!

I worked til 3:30 this afternoon and today was long and stressful so I didn't want to spend a lot of time cooking. However, we didn't want to eat out, either. So we had chicken and dressing with gravy, carrots, and tossed salad. It was so good!

When I make this I use a box of stuffing mix from Wal-Mart. Not even a name brand, just the Great Value brand. I dump the box of stuffing mix into a large glass bowl, add about 1 1/2 cups water to it, stir a little, and microwave it for about 6 minutes. While that's cooking, I cut into bite sized pieces a medium sized chicken breast or a couple of thighs. When the dressing is cooked I add the chicken and microwave it another three minutes or so until the chicken is hot. Once it's done I just use a fork to kind of fluff it, prepare the gravy and vegetable and voila, dinner is served!

It's quick, it's not too horribly unhealthy, and it's a lot cheaper than eating out...

Monday, April 14, 2008

Shame, shame, shame!

I didn't get off work until 5:00 tonight and we had our 10th Financial Peace University class at 6:30 so we stopped at Taco Bell on the way for dinner. No, that isn't healthy and no, eating out didn't help us pay any debt but it was good and fast and not too expensive at $11.00 for the two of us.

Tomorrow night we're having chicken and cornbread dressing with gravy, green beans, and tossed salad.

Yum yum!

By the way, I highly recommend the FPU class to anyone who wonders where their money is going or wants to get out of debt. We're taking it at a local church and the $100 we paid for the class is well worth it. In the 10 weeks since the class started, we've learned a lot, paid off some debts, and have managed to get some money saved. We have a long way to go but we didn't get into debt overnight and we won't get out of it overnight. We have hope now and that's definitely worth a lot more to us than $100.


My last entry was December 31st of 2007. My job has kept me busy and I just haven't had the heart to blog for awhile but I'm back.

Rising food costs have a lot of people concerned and I think there's reason to be. But I'm not in a panic. Instead, I'm using the knowledge I already have and am seeking more to help me prepare healthy, good tasting food at a reasonable price. I'm pretty darn good at that but there's always room for improvement. :)

Anyway, this evening or tomorrow I'll try to post an updated inventory of the food we have on hand and will share our dinner menu for the next week or two with y'all.

In the meantime, I'm off to work!