Sunday, June 23, 2013

Cooking, Cooking, And More Cooking!

I love to cook.  I get that from my Mom.  She is a wonderful cook, and even though I spent a lot of time with her in the kitchen growing up, it was usually doing some kind of job to help, such as peeling potatoes, or setting the table.   When I got married at 19, I couldn't wait to cook!!  Here we are almost 34 years later, and I still love to cook!!
Sometimes I get into one of those moods to cook all day.  I started this morning after bringing in a bucket of fresh produce.
You can only see broccoli here, but once washed and layed out on the counter, you can see what else I brought in.
  I wanted to use up a lot of that yellow squash and zucchini, so I started off making a big pot of vegetable chili.  But first I sent Geeps outside to cook up 3 pounds of bacon on the BBQ for me.
I sauteed a large onion and fresh minced garlic in olive oil.  Then added a little over a pound of lean ground sirloin. 
Brown the beef and drain any fat.  There wasn't any because the meat was so lean.  I added a large can of whole tomatoes, and a small can of diced tomatoes.
Breaking up the tomatoes with a flat edge wooden spoon.  I diced up about three each, zucchini and yellow squash.   Several stalks of celery.  And a jalapeno pepper.
Drain one can each of black beans, and pinto beans.
Mix all, and add seasonings.  I used plenty of sea salt, cracked black pepper, cumin, and chili powder.
Turn fire to low and put lid on the pot.  Leave to simmer for an hour or until veggies are tender.
Next up, I wanted to make a broccoli salad with my fresh broccoli.  I washed and cut the broccoli into bite sized pieces.   Added about 6 pieces of cooked bacon.  A handful of sunflower seeds.  About a cup or so of raisins, and several green onions, diced thin.  For the dressing, Mix about 3/4 cup mayo, 1/2 cup sugar, and 2 T red wine vinegar.  Whisk together til smooth, and pour over broccoli.  This salad is DIVINE!!!
Oh, and usually I don't add cucumber to this salad, but since I had so many from the garden, I peeled and seeded them, and diced them to add to this as well.
 I put that one in the fridge, and began to prepare lunch.  Which is where this all started.  We had talked about having bacon, lettuce, tomato and avocado sandwiches because of all of the tomatoes we were getting.
 I toasted some sour dough bread, and spread it with good mayo, then layered the ingredients on.  Salt and pepper for the tomato and avocado, and there you have it.  BLTA.  Yum!  I took an Insta Gram, but I must have been hungry, and forgot to snap a photo with my camera.
Then I got started on what I was planning for dinner.  Chicken and Pasta Caesar Salad.  This is something that my Mom has made for years.  I don't have a recipe, we just use what we like.  I wash the romaine and cut off the core end, and lay the leaves onto a clean tea towel.
Then roll the towel up, and place into fridge to crisp while the rest of salad is being prepared. (this is a tip from my Mom)
Cook your pasta.  I like to use penne, and I like the pasta with ridges.  The ridges hold onto the sauce or dressing.
Cook to al dente, and drain in sink, letting cold water run over the pasta to cool.
After lettuce has been in fridge to crisp, remove and cut into bite sized pieces.  Adding to a very large bowl.
To  this, add the cooled pasta, and white meat from a rotisserie chicken, cut into bite sized pieces.  Usually I use grape tomatoes, but with all of the tomatoes I have from the garden, I used my own.  Add a large handful or two of roasted and salted sunflower seeds, or you can use toasted pinenuts.  I do this salad using both, but I had the sunflower seeds, so I used those.  Also a large handful of parmesan cheese.  Salt and pepper.  Toss well.  (I usually put this into two bowls, as it makes so much.  Then I refill the party bowl, when getting low.) 
I use a creamy caesar salad dressing for this.  Top with toasted croutons.
 This salad can be served alone as a summer meal.  We often do this with pizza too.  It is always a huge hit!!!  I also added a some fresh ribbons of basil.
I cut up a cantaloupe and we ate it outside watching the chickens.
 Oh, I almost forgot.  I also made up some bacon and scrambled egg breakfast burritos for the week.   I scrambled a dozen eggs.
Added several pieces of cooked bacon to the eggs.  Shredded some cheese.  And assembled the burritos.
  Lay your eggs down the middle of a large tortilla.  Top with cheese.  And roll.  I wrapped each burrito in waxed paper, twisting the ends to seal.
I stored them in large ziplock bags.  They can be heated in the microwave, and eaten on the go, or here at home.  All you need is a little salsa.
So, what do you cook when you are in a cooking mood?
XO  Kris


The Garden Bell - Kate said...

This is enough delish grub for an army. But, then there always is an army around your house. A fun, giggling, smiling, joyful, merry, always on the go, army. Love the burrito idea, so wise to make ahead.

On a brighter note, we are suppose to get some rain the next four days. So....I thought I might find a hook and give that new Sarah London pattern a whirl. It's looks to be fun, but I will have to remember how it works.

But first....out the door to jazz. My partner Sarah and I are in the lead to be the first to get our silly towels. You know I'm all about a free towel (70 classes in June/July). Not really, but the win would feel great. Guess once a competitor always a competitor....he-he....

Hanne said...

I really dont like to cook.....but I love to make cakes :) all kinds of cakes, but cup cakes are my favorites

priscilla said...

Wow ! The sandwich looks great ! Love BLT's .. going to have to try it with avocado .. That broccoli salad is one of the favorites around here .. we love that stuff :)
Your chicken, pasta ceasar salad looks so good ! Going to have to try that !
Still Can't beleive how much you are getting out of your garden !

Cathy said...

Wow, you did cook up a storm, Kris. All those vegetables from your garden are beautiful! I love your broccoli salad and will be making burritos the way you make them. What a timesaver for during the week. Your chili looks delicious, too.

Debbie said...

Nothing this good that's for sure, haha! I do enjoy cooking, sometimes, but I think I just enjoying eating more, haha! My dil makes a killer chili recipe using the zucchini and squash...soo yummy!
The salad looks wonderful. I may give that a whirl! Enjoy your day Kris!

Lauri said...

Oh my...I need to step up my game! You're an inspiration. What fun to have a "grocery store" on your back yard.

Kelli said...

It is only 8:45 in the morning and now I am looking forward to dinner! I think I am going to make the pasta salad looks wonderful. I love all the wonderful recipes you share.

Barbara F. said...

Yummy yum yum, your veggies are gorgeous and that chili, I could almost smell it cooking through my computer screen. xo

Pam said...

YUM! Lots of good food being made in your home. I love the idea of freezing breakfast burritos.

Valerie Smith said...


All of this looks so good. I'm soooo ready for my garden to start producing. I planted more cucumber, watermelon, and cantaloupe yesterday. I am already working on plans for my Fall garden to go in Mid-July. All of these would be a HUGE hit in my house just need the veggies to ripen up so we can make them.


Cottage Making Mommy

Anonymous said...

Yum, does everything look good and tasty! I'm now on a rather bland diet but you're giving my taste buds ideas. ;)

I have never LOVED to cook, some days I might like it better than others. Wishing I could develop that LOVE for it though. I've always been in too big a hurry to finish cooking so I could do other things. It's about time to slow down and appreciate the process. :)

Pammy Sue said...

Yum, Kris!! I wrote down your recipe for the Chicken Pasta Caesar Salad. Will be trying that soon. Love all of your cooking posts! We need to talk soon. I have news I haven't told you yet.

by Teresa said...

I actually love that my hubby likes to cook. :-) I think of the ideas of the meals and then he cooks it. He even went to Bed Bath & Beyond today and got a "grilling stone" to use in his new pellet grill. We're going to try "wood fired" pizza and bread and salmon, etc. You amaze and inspire me! I'm heading off to swim in a few and hubby is going to make strawberry freezer jam!! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

Betsy said...

I don't even know where to start. Oh Yummmmmmmm! Broccoli salad is my all time favorite but all of your other dishes look delicious too. I've never put an avocado on a BLT but looks like something I'm going to try soon.

Jann Olson said...

Yum, you love to cook and I love to see what you cook! I do love cooking, and enjoy trying new recipes. I have tiny squash coming on. Will be making this delicious chili for sure! The salad and burritos so so good too. You are making me hungry. It's 5 p.m. right now. Good thing I've started browning the ground beef for my tostados!

Grayseasailor said...

Your cooking posts are among my favorite of your posts, too, Kris! I love seeing all your garden is sister, Margaret, in Burbank has two raised garden boxes and the plants were thriving but not producing anything to pick when we were down there last week. I have been majoring on making salads lately and love the lettuce mix we got at the Tuesday Farmer's Market here in Sonoma...with nasturtium blossoms...yummy!

Astri said...

I am on my way over!

Tammy said...

I'll be over for dinner. =P Yummy!

Sweet Cottage Dreams said...

my goodness, kris!

you do love to cook! I am not that ambitious in the kitchen, but I am sure my family wished I was.

everything looks just delicious! I love summer salads and sure wish we had a garden - but there are MANY fruit stands near our home to pick great produce from.

thanks for the visit!!


Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said... I really need to go and eat! Everything looks so wonderful, amaze me!

Heather - The Good Life said...

Hi Kris! All your food looks so yummy. I've made something similar to your pasta salad, but add solid white albacore tuna and use a vinaigrette dressing. You make great use of your produce (and eggs). I've been MIA, we've sold our house and are in a temporary apt. while we build. Most of our things are in storage, so not much to blog about. I'll be back once we get moved and settled into our new home, probably end of the year or first of next year. Take care and keep on blogging! Your friend, Heather

Poppy said...

Hi Kris,

Your own fresh veggies are a great inspiration to get cooking! Everything looks delicious, such colour! What a fantastic tip for the lettuce leaves, can't wait to try it!


Melissa C said...

Oh my goodness! I just ate dinner and after seeing this I am hungry again! Your meals look so yummy! and I love the burrito idea! I am doing that for sure!

Gloria Baker said...

all look amazing Kris and I love how you freeze burritos look amazing!!
I love the lettuces too really pretty!!

Tania @ Out Back said...

I'm hungry now after seeing all your delicious food! I also realise how much I miss the Summer foods YUM!

Thank you for sharing your lovely recipes, I will be sure to try them when our Summer comes around :)


Linda said...

You must be tired!
I also love to cook several things at one time...
Much better to make one big mess, and then clean everything up!
I made a batch of spaghetti sauce today...added fresh basil...delish!
usually I bake 3 or 4 things at one time too...
Picked up some big plump blueberries...You know what that means! HAHAHA!

Linda :o)

Holly said...

Everything just looks so yummy. I really want that sandwich you posted on Instagram. It's just too too hot to cook anything right now. We're basically living off of salads and sandwiches here. One night we had cereal. It's supposed to be 117 degrees by Friday so we'll probably only be eating ice.

Patty said...

Another great cooking lesson from you! I've got to pin these things, especially the broccoli salad. Your produce looks so fresh and delicious. I wish I liked to cook. We spend a lot of money on eating out.

Susanne said...

Who needs to watch a cooking show when I can come right here and see what is on the menu at Chris's house, LOL! You my girl are one cooking machine and putting the rest of us to shame. I love to cook too, but now that I spend most of my days alone I just grab something quick. I did fix BLT's for my brother and I when he came on Monday to haul the downed wood to my daughters. In between the 2 trips I came in and fried up some bacon and had one lovely Tennessee tomato and some lettuce. It will be awhile till we have any fresh tomatoes grown around here. Thanks for sharing. Everything looks mouth-watering and healthy.
Susanne ♥

Jill said...

Everything looks so delicious Kris! Now I need to go figure out what I'm having for dinner! LOL I love when you share these posts, nothing brings family and friends together like a good homecooked meal :-)


sweetpea family said...

Wow super cooking day x