A meal with chicken nuggets and potatoes

I have found that almost everyone likes chicken nuggets. I also know that people are trying to cut out the fats from their diets which includes frying.

Here is a meal that is quick and healthy. I will link to the video for chicken nuggets but I will give some alternative coatings.

Now here is a great way to do oven fries using sweet potatoes as well as regular potatoes.

In a bag or bowl put some oil just enough to coat the potatoes. Add in some spices like salt, pepper, paprika some onion powder and just a pinch of garlic powder. I like to use spicy paprika since it has a bite but is not as hot as chili powder but the spices are totally up to your families tastes.
Toss the potatoes in this mixture and spread them on a cookies sheet in one layer. Put them in the oven for about 10 min at 425 turn them and put them back in until they are browned and soft inside about another 10 -15 min.
If you are trying these with other meats like pork chops, or meatloaf you can add other types of vegetables like carrots, squash, onions and even turnips and parsnips. Cut the onions bigger since they take less time. If doing this cover them with tin foil so they steam for a bit first then uncover and brown them. If you line the pan with tin foil there is very little clean up which is a plus.

Now for the nuggets. 2 half chicken breast should be enough for 3-4 people. Cut them into 2 bite pieces and put them in a bowl. Add spices you like salt, pepper, sage, onion and garlic powder and if you like them spicy some chili powder or flakes. Then add some oil and a bit of melted butter.  Mix all this then take them and add to the bag of spices and coating.
In the video she uses corn meal, flour and some crispy cereals.
I use crushed up cornflakes or rice krispy cereals. I have never used corn meal but I might give it a try next time.
Take them from the bag and place on a cookie sheet and bake at 425 F turning after 10 min. You can have dipping sauces of sweet and sour sauce or a plum sauce or whatever type of sauce you want.  A salsa would be nice if you like spicy things. Even a marinara sauce would be good.
You can cook them about the same time as the veg. Have the vegetables cooking while you do the chicken prep work and then put them in just before you take the vegetables out of the tin foil. They should all be done the same time.
Start to finish should be about 45 min. If you do the prep work like cutting the veg. and spicing the chicken earlier in the day or the night before it will be even quicker.

Here is Katscradul’s version and she is a wonderful cook. I have tried some of her recipes and not had a failure.

I sent this to my son and he is going to make a video of his 2 year old daughter and him making this meal. When he has it done I will post it here.

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Picnic times are here

Finally the warm weather has arrived for part of the time. We are in a crazy weather time right now so warm weather activities have been put on hold for a while.

Here is a video by Deb at Perbain’s Channel on You Tube. She shows how to make a great potatoe salad and since my own have always just been mediocre I thought I would let you see how to make a good one. I have tried a lot of her food ideas and not one has failed me yet.

So enjoy her way of cooking and the final results.

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Easy Chicken Dinner

Today I am posting a video I did on You Tube for making a fried chicken dinner with no carbs no extra fat and so quick and easy it is a great go to meal for those nights you just want to order in a nice meal but don’t have it in the budget.

This recipe calls for a pressure cooker so if you are wanting to try it you will have to have one.

But hey a pressure cooker makes a good gift for a newly wed or a baby shower gift. Who needs more time than a new mom?

Here is the video and the recipe.

I hope you enjoy it and try it. Pressure cookers are not the scary things I grew up thinking they were.  They save time and money.
The time saving is a given but how does it save money?
You can have a meal on the table in almost the same time it takes for a delivery pizza.
Enjoy.

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More new meals with what is in the house.

This week has been totally crazy in our house. My husband messed up his knee so he is using a cane to walk, my arthritis is bad due to the changing crazy weather we have been having and to top it off I have 2 abscessed teeth. I am on major pain meds. and anti-biotics. This does not make for great meal plans.  Add to this the fact that we are going out of town on Tues. I did not go grocery shopping since I want to get groceries in the city where there is more variety and better prices.
I got up on Sat. and had to come up with an idea for breakfast.
I looked and found some bacon, a few eggs some deli ham and that was about it for a meal. Also we have cut down on carbs for health reasons and that does not add up to an interesting meal.
But the other day I had seen a video on making breakfast muffins and thought I would give them a try. So here is what I came up with. Preheat the oven to 350.
You fry the bacon until it is cooked but not too crispy. Then chop it up small and cut the ham about the same size. You can add some chopped onion and any leftover veg. you have in the fridge. Put it into a muffin cup   and set it aside.

Beat about 4 egg (this should do  5 muffins) If you have some cheese cheddar, swiss, or whatever type you enjoy on the tops but that is optional.

Pour the eggs salt and pepper over the meat in the muffin cups.

Bake in the oven for about 20 min. or until they are firm and browned on top.

Let them sit a minute or two and then place them on a plate and serve.
You could serve these with home fries or hash browns but they would also be good as a grab and go breakfast since they can be eaten without forks. If you made up a couple muffin tins of them and freeze them you just have to heat them in the micro wave for 1 min and they are ready to eat.
I had mine with salsa but my husband likes his with ketchup, They were a great way to use up some left overs and still have an interesting meal.
When I set out to make these I found that a few weeks ago when cleaning out my cupboards I had put my muffin tins in the basement since I don’t make muffins any more. So instead of trying to find them I used 2 ramekins or french onion soup bowls. They were great since one made a meal for one person. Nice portion control and if you have different tastes you can make them to suit each individual without a lot of extra work.

These are low carb and a quick easy start to the day. Add a bit of fruit or a glass of juice a cup of coffee and you are ready to go.

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Gift Giving Ideas: Giving Food

Not everyone can cook, but everyone likes to eat. I’ve found that my children don’t always have time to cook, and some of my older friends aren’t always able to cook. For them giving prepared meals, or easy to make recipes with all the ingredients for a quick meal or snack are really good gifts.

Homemade Hot Sauce

Here is a recipe for hot sauce. I am not a great lover of spicy hot things, but my son loves them. So when I found this recipe in the Bernardin guide to home canning book I just had to try it.

I went to the grocery store and saw so many different types of hot chilies I was lost. So I asked someone buying a few different types. He told me the Thai chilies were the hottest so I got those and hoped it turned out. When I tried it the heat was not very much. I have used it on burgers and eggs. So this time I made it with jalapeno peppers and it is much hotter.                                                                                                                                                      Here is the recipe.

Red Hot Sauce

8 cups 2000 ml chopped peeled tomatoes

1 1/2 cups 375 ml chopped, seeded hot peppers

4 cups 1000 ml vinegar divided

1 cup 250 ml granulated sugar

1 tbsp 15 ml pickling salt

2 tbsp 30 ml pickling spice

In stainless steel saucepan, combine tomatoes, peppers and 2 cups 500 ml vinegar. Cook until soft; puree.

Return to saucepan with sugar, salt and pickling spices (tied in a cheesecloth bag).

Stirring frequently simmer until thickened; add remaining vinegar and cook to desired consistency.

Tips I have done.

I use a tea ball instead of cheesecloth for the pickling spice.                             I also use my stick blender instead of a food process or stand mixer. It saves dishes and time.

I also used tomato sauce instead of fresh tomatoes. You could use canned whole or diced tomatoes as well.

This recipe will make 4 250 ml. jars and you process it in a hot water bath for 15 min.

Label it and keep it on a shelf put a card on it and give it as a gift or keep it for your own use. It has to be refrigerated once it is open.

Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix.

This is a good mix to have made up in advance. Make a quantity of it then pre-measure it and put it into snack bags or small containers to just add to the ground meat.
They make a nice gift for taco lovers when accompanied with a bag of taco chips and a jar of salsa. All they have to do is add the meat and toppings.

HOMEMADE TACO SEASONING MIX

1/4 cup ground cumin
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon oregano
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes or slightly less ground red pepper

Optional:
1 teaspoon ground coriander or cilantro flakes
2 teaspoons flour (this will thicken the juices of your ground meat)

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Store in an airtight container. Use 2-3 tablespoons per pound of ground meat, according to your taste. Stores great in the freezer as well.

This is a link to katzcradul  on Youtube. She shows how she mixes it up. But the recipe is  here for you.

You can use ground chicken, turkey, pork or hamburg to make the taco. Top it with olives, lettuce, tomato chunks some green onions cheddar cheese or a spicy cheese and some sour cream.  My sons prefer taco salads so I buy the taco chips but you can use the traditional taco shells either dry or soft and make tacos with this.

It is an easy quick meal and by making your own seasonings for it you will almost certainly have most of the ingredients in the house.

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Good Ways to Use Old Food

Here is an age old question for house wives, “What to do with leftovers.”

Now I am not good with left-overs. I used to put them in the freezer until they were covered by freezer burn and could throw them out.
That is not only wasteful, it is expensive. So I have been figuring out ways to reuse leftover food.

Suppertime on Friday Night

Ok, it’s a Friday night, you are tired from work, you look in the fridge and see that you have a chicken with just a bit of meat left on it. You check the crisper drawer and see a carrot a small onion a bit of celery and that is it.  Now you could, grab the phone and order a pizza, or you could take all the things you found and cut them up small put them in a pie plate add some of the gravy you found in behind the chicken container and make a chicken pot pie.
There are a couple ways to do this and they are all extremely easy and quick.

1. use a frozen pie shell add the filling and gravy. Place a top on it and bake at 350 F for about 40 min.

2.  put the filling and gravy into a pie plate with no bottom crust and just put a top on it. Bake the same as for the double crust pie.

3. put the filling into a casserole dish and then make some tea biscuits and top the pie with that either as one piece or small biscuits.  Bake at 400F for 20 until biscuits are browned and filling is hot.

Now you do not have the gravy. No problem.

Open a can of chicken stock and mix some flour with that to thicken it. Start off with just a bit of flour and slowly add more until it’s thick enough.

Or open a can of mushrooms add some flour to the liquid and you have gravy to pour into the pie.

Or the simplest would be to use a can of mushroom, celery or cream of chicken soup. You could add about 1/4 cup of water or half and half to that and use it as the gravy. You can also add frozen or canned vegetables of your choice which would save the time of peeling and cutting the vegetables.

Supper is on the table in about 1 hour. No expensive pizza and while it is baking you can sit and talk with your children about what happened at school or sit with your husband or wife and talk about things you would like to do for fun on the weekend.

What could be better than cleaning the fridge and saving money on take out, with the added pleasure of finding a bit of time to spend with your family.

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Admitting Painful Truths, And Overcoming Problems

A couple months ago I was at the doctors office again. I was seeing a new dr. which is normal due to the size of the town and the lack of doctors who want to stick around.

That day I was on crutches because my foot was twice the size it should be and I could not put any weight on it or put a shoe on. The no shoe would not be so bad but there was a foot of snow so bare feet or bedroom slippers were not an option.  Now I was not there because of my foot, I think I know what that problem is from and it has become a normal situation for me. Inconvenient but normal.

I was there because my teeth hurt and I have a constant earache which my dentist told me was due to nerve damage. I have also started having my legs from the hips down go numb and to some extent my arms.

That is getting kind of scary since I am by myself in the house most of the time, and if something happens what do I do?

Well the doctor first checked out my foot and then the way I was sitting. I have what is considered to be very bad posture. I was always told to stand up straight and sit straighter to look better. Believe me I tried not only to stop the lectures on good posture but because I wanted to look good as a teenager.

I tried and the only thing it seemed to do was make me hurt. But try explaining that to someone and they think you are a bit of a wimp who is just lazy.

Well the Dr. told me she thought I had a different form of rheumatoid arthritis and I forgot to have her write it down and since the name was long I have forgotten the name.  I do know the symptoms and the fact that it starts when you are a teen and you tend to hunch over because the rib cage hurts when you stand or sit straight.

Now this is exactly what I was going through all those many years ago.

She said she would fill out forms to get the disability tax break from the federal government and the provincial government.
I said fine and went back a few days later to pick them up. We sent them in and to my utter shock the government agreed with her and now my husband can claim some of the things on his tax return. I have not been able to work almost since we got married but I never wanted  to admit it. I stayed at home and raised my sons and told everyone that is what I really wanted to do. This is true to a certain extent but when you see other families and children getting things you know you can’t afford because there is only one income it starts to hurt.

You lose your self confidence and you start to think your children must hate you because you can’t do things other mothers do with their children.
You become isolated from people your own age because you cannot plan to go for coffee or to the mall because you don’t know from one day to the next how you will feel.

So friends drift away and you are left alone whether you want it that way or not.

Your children grow up and move away and have families of their own and you are left lonelier still. Oh you get phone calls from them but you don’t have a place in their everyday lives anymore.

This is all part of Life’s cycle but when you do not have any place to go to fill in the lonely hours it is not only lonely it is kind of depressing.

You begin to wonder, what are you going to do when your husband retires and you are so crippled up you cannot look after yourself let alone your husband?
Will he want to stay at home with you or will he build a life after retirement without you in it?

So right now meaning the last few months and for a few more months at least I have taken up a hobby that I can do without leaving the house other than getting groceries.

I am canning  vegetables fruits and meat.

I am doing this to keep fairly active but also to make me feel like I am contributing to life. Even if it is only in a small way. It feels good to see the jars of food build up on the basement shelves.

Last night I was not up to cooking so I went down and pulled two jars of canned beef chunks chopped up some sweet potatoes and onions wrapped the vegetables in tin foil and put them in the oven. Then the meat was opened and put in a frying  pan to heat up I mixed a bit of corn starch with water and added this to the meat and it was tender beef with gravy. It was a great meal with absolutely no great amount of work.

For a dessert I opened a half pint jar of cherries and that was dessert for Don.

This one simple meal made me realize that I can look after my home and family, even if it is not the way I would like to do it.

You see I love to cook and experiment with different ingredients and come up with a new meal each day. But if that is not something I can do on a particular day I can still put a good meal on the table.

So yes I have to finally admit I am disabled it is not the end of the world. I have known it for many years but having the doctor tell me that I am makes it hit home big time.  But I can still do things I love most days and hopefully I will be able to be almost pain free when my grandchildren come for a visit once a year. If not then pain pills will make it bearable.
So admit something you may not want to but learn to do things in a different way so that life does not end mentally. You still have many years of life to get through so you might as well do it with the biggest smile you can put on each day.

My next post will be recipes and instructions on how to can things you find when they are a good price so you can enjoy them when they are more expensive later in the year.

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