Saturday, March 09, 2019
Living the Pantry Lifestyle - Time for seasonal changes
Just as I am ready for green grass and a gravel lane free of ice, I am definitely ready for a change in menus. Not that we didn't enjoy the stew this past week and the soups of previous weeks. They were very good but well, it is time to make a few tweaks here and there. Even if we were under a Winter Weather Advisory only yesterday.
Instead of chili, I made a favorite goulash recipe last night. It makes enough that I could freeze half of it but instead we will have the rest as leftovers. Mainly because it is a recipe I hadn't made in awhile so we are not tired of it. (This has been the season of popping something in the oven so it warms that part of the house instead of stove top cooking.)
When I was making it for dinner last night, I once again thought how a written recipe may provide the ingredients and a few instructions but your dish can still turn out differently than the original cook, especially if it was a family member or friend's specialty.
I put the elbow macaroni in the skillet immediately after the ground beef has been seasoned and browned. This way the dried macaroni gets a little browned and seasoned before adding any liquids. I also give an extra fifteen minutes or so of prep time so that once the goulash is done, I can take it off the heat and stir it while it cools a little. It helps any extra liquid (and flavor) to be absorbed into the macaroni. I'm pretty sure I didn't write that down on the recipe card the family may use someday.
I suppose my mind could wander since I was doing a lot of stirring before adding water and putting the lid on the skillet to simmer. Most of my mother's recipes I use are straight forward but I did make certain to stand by her and watch how she made her vegetable beef soup we all loved. That was definitely worth cajoling her into letting me watch her cook (which she did not enjoy).
I enjoy being in the kitchen in Spring and I'm looking forward to its' arrival. The windows can finally be opened to let in a breeze and the oven can be used on most days without having to turn on the air conditioner. In this season when Winter and Summer can overlap, so can my cooking. I still enjoy making soup and casseroles but the recipe cards with the quicker skillet meals are dusted off for fresh ideas.
Of course, this is all different than hot weather cooking. That is when my cooking creativity shuts off except for new ways to throw together a salad. I would say BLTs and tacos are about as close as I want to get to the stove. This is the area where I need to be a little more prepared with new ideas and recipes. I have never liked hot weather cooking. It is probably a good idea I live in a somewhat northern climate.
A cookbook I have been enjoying (and real bookmarks inserted to try a few recipes) is one called Cozy Christmas Baking: A Hygge-Inspired Christmas. It is a self published cookbook that was recommended by another blogger whose self published cookbook called, From France to the Farm, I own, I know self published books cost a little more on Amazon but I do like to support bloggers when possible. Amazon credit helps me to do so and I thank you.
Cozy Christmas Baking has a feature I love, larger-than-average font as well as beautiful photographs of the food for each recipe. While the title would indicate Christmas cooking and baking (and that is when I would use it the most); the recipes for cookies, breads, etc. will be good all year. Since I like to give baked goods as gifts, this book will still get a lot of use so it remains in the basket where I keep cookbooks in use.
I've also been doing some virtual bookmarking for recipes I want to try soon. I will add those links below. Rarely do I try complicated recipes these days but I do enjoy easy recipes and those which provide a simpler way to make certain dishes... like the crazy crust pizza and the pancake muffin recipe in the links.
Now that I have made both of us hungry, I will provide you with links and then head to the kitchen to prepare lunch.
Mentioned in this Blog Post
Cozy Christmas Baking: A Hygge-Inspired Christmas... here.
From France to the Farm... here.
Easy Pancake Muffins... here. (I may try this recipe today or tomorrow)
Orzo Pilaf... here. (I often use orzo instead of rice these days.)
Crazy Crust Pizza... here. (I have not tried this, yet, but I have successfully tried other crazy crust recipes with good results.)
Image: Brambly Hedge (my pantry heroes)