Sunday, February 27, 2011



Sorry to be gone for so long. I've become a slave to my embroidery machine and have been working toward building my embroidery/crafty business to generate enough income to cook? All I know is I need to find a way to split my time between half food and half craft. Oh wait, then i'll need half mother, half wife, half driver, half soccer mom, half crochet gal, half Loopers! teacher, and half - shouldn't there be a moment for me in there?

I've also been featured on The Art of Crochet, or rather my gnomes have!

...they may be little but Gnomes keep you busy! I have a new 'line' of spring gnomes which I shall add to the loopersaustin page.

ANYway, that being said; with Connor's math pentathlon club on Monday after school and his soccer practice Tuesday and Thursday and social life on Friday that leaves Wednesday as the only day in a week we can eat at home! *there's not enough time to come home and then get back to soccer or life and it's after 8 till we get home and no one can wait till then to eat. You'd think I could cook Wednesday but that's husband's "night out with the boys" *you'll notice a serious lack of my night out with the girls, boys or anyone without the child in tow* anyway, Connor likes me too cook little things he loves like the fettuccine alfredo with shrimp or something out of the freezer on "our" nights so it's never really a cooking day.

So, for the next few weeks, i'll be cooking on Sunday for our Sunday night meal and that's it till the next weekend. I hate not being able to cook but I am going to try to figure some way around it.

In the meantime welcome to this week's one meal ... meatloaf. Ya, I have a hankering. So we're having meatloaf, mashed potatoes, steamed green beans and cauliflower with cheese and a crazy crunchy panko topping. mmm meatloafy!

I make my meatloaf with 1 lb each of pork and sirloin. I run it through the food processor a little with some saltines that I crush and soak in milk. I add some fried onions, soft not brown, a squirt of ketchup and mustard, some Worcestershire. I salt and pepper with a heavy hand. 2 eggs and as many breadcrumbs as it takes to make a barely cohesive blob and there ya go.

I always cook my meatloaf free form and on slices of bread. The bread soaks up all the excess grease and gets crunchy and soaked with beef fat but doesn't actually burn. Yeah break off a shard or two of that and tell me how much you love it!

I squirt a little ketchup and a little barbeque sauce on top and rub it on gently, a very thin coating that I then cover with strips of bacon. Trust me, if there's a way to add bacon that I can snack on while dinner cooks, I'm there. I cook it at 325 for an hour and a half (2 lbs loaf) with bacon slices on top so I can snack while I cook.

I made a tasty onion gravy to go with it all and it was rather yummy. Of course my attempt at a family dinner blew up, no one ended up eating and I threw most of it away but I'll say this, it was delish!

go make a meatloaf, they're yummy, cheap and I think better later in the week as a leftovermeatloafcheeseburger sandwich (one of Connor's favorites!) Just make sure you eat it with people you love, who love you back because that's the best way.


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Refrigerator Quiche

Sometimes you just want quiche.

It's a Sunday morning standard but lots of people think it too much work, too temperamental and don't bother. That's a shame. If you follow me at all you know you must always make the $1.29 investment on a weekly basis and have a box of pre-made, rolled, pastry in your fridge. You must have it there at all times. No, really, you must.

If they're on sale, buy more and toss them into the freezer. There is never going to be a time we can't whip up a pie, quiche or treatie for lack of desire to make pie dough. My mother, as I say this, will be horrified but sometimes we need to stray from the straight and narrow and have boxed dough at the ready.

Sure, we can make pastry but sometimes, the need for quiche surpasses any desire or gumption to actually make the pastry and then wait the 30 to let it set and all the flour and rolling pin and other accouterments that come with a fine bout of pastry making. Today we go to the fridge, we grab the box and we are content with that.

Let's begin. Take your pre-rolled pastry out of the fridge, let it sit there and soften enough to unroll. *on a Sunday morning that is happily the extent of my pastry involvement.

Fry some bacon, 6 slices, until crisp.

Search through your fridge for anything left over that you can chop up and sprinkle in an even layer in the pie shell. ANYthing works here. I've made it with taco meat and crumbled tortilla chips and cheese, really, search around and find any combination of food you like, it'll work.

My search today left me with a small pile of chopped ham, some cheese; Havarti, cheddar and Parmesan, a few sick cherry tomatoes, 2 spring onions, 3 small boiled potatoes. That works.

By the time the bacon is crisp (remember to drain the fat into a jar! everything you make will taste better!) and the fridge search complete, the pastry has relaxed enough and we're ready to go. Preheat the oven to 375.

This isn't as much a recipe as a process:

This morning, I rolled out the pie dough slightly so that I felt as though I'd participated in the process but really you don't have to. I lined my pie plate and set it to one side.

I chopped small each of my delicious finds from the fridge. I sprinkled each in the bottom of the pie shell, in an even layer. Don't make your layers too thick otherwise you'll run out of space and that's never good.

I layered my crisp bacon then spring onions then tomato. Then the chopped ham, ripped Havarti, grated Parmesan and I had some Lancashire cheddar. I chopped the potatoes small and again, a sparse single layer.

*Here is the only "recipe" part, this is good for one 9' pie shell

In a large mixing bowl combine
5 large eggs
1 cup of milk. Wisk heartily!
Salt and pepper heavily and mix in any
herbs you have and like.

I found some almost done parsley in the fridge which I chopped fine and some dry herbs de Provence.

Pour the egg mixture over the filling and put it in the lower rack of the oven for 25 minutes. Move the quiche to the upper rack (it's a me thing but I always do this) for another 15 or so until it's beautiful, puffy and a knife comes out clean.

Put it on a rack to cool down, slice and eat! Really, no fuss, no muss and it's absolutely delicious. Also, your fridge is now organized and ready for you to fill up with left overs this week so we can have a completely different quiche next week... brisket and pepper jack perhaps?


*this is what I buy and keep in my fridge/freezer when I just can't muster the mood but need the end result: