Cheesy Potatoes

Recipes in this PostCheesy Potatoes

I have been making this recipe for a holidays for quite a long time, and even made it for Ascencia when I was Guest Chef at Mother’s Day. I have pictures of it, but not of its preparation. So, I am putting it in again, and it’s changed just a little bit, for the better, of course.

I don’t usually use canned soup, but this is the exception. The original recipe calls for Cream of Mushroom soup, but Cream of Potato soup is much better. The original recipe also calls for hashed brown potatoes, but, I think the Southern cut frozen potatoes are better as well.

This is a very simple dish to make, and I always get raves when I make it. It makes a lot, and can easily be doubled or even tripled if you have a lot of people to feed.

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Stuffing Turkey Meatloaf Ring

Recipes in this PostStuffing Turkey Meatloaf Ring

I love it when I suddenly have something I didn’t know I had. A few days ago, when Spane and I went to one of the wonderful Armenian stores, the check out lady gave us a loaf of Stone bread. I put it up on top of the refrigerator, and forgot it was up there. We don’t eat a lot of bread, so that’s not a surprise. I should have put it in the freezer, but… When I checked it two days later, it had really turned into its namesake, stone.

What to do with bread that has turned to stone that you know has really good flavor? Why turn it into stuffing mix! The stuffing mix that comes in the box has bread that I swear is dryer and harder.

Bread in the bag

Bread in the bag

I only had one problem. It was a big loaf of bread, not sliced, and too hard to cut with a knife. I tried whacking it with a skillet, but that didn’t work too well either. I thought to myself, what is the heaviest thing in the house? Me! So, I put my bread in several plastic bags (hey, finally, a good use for plastic bags), put some flat shoes on, and stepped all over the bread. Let me tell you, the sound was great, and the bread crumbled just the way I wanted it to.

I also had some ground turkey in the freezer, and cranberry sauce in the pantry. That sounded to me like a great head start on Thanksgiving!

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Jambalaya in the Nesco

Recipes in this PostJambalaya

In the midst of the last move, I forgot to close out the old gas bill. When I called to turn on the gas in the new place, no one mentioned it, and I still didn’t think about it. Then, I get this nasty letter from the gas company saying that they are going to turn off my gas in the new place if I don’t immediately pay the old bill, and that I have to call a certain phone number when I make the payment. To make sure that the payment is properly recorded, I went to the local gas company on July 2, 2013 and paid the bill in person. Then I called the special number at about 3:30pm and got a recorded message that the gas company was open from 8:00am to 5:15pm. I figured all the lines were busy, so I waited a few minutes and called again, and still got the same recording. I figured that in the information age, the payment would be recorded and all would be well.

I was wrong. When I got home yesterday, Monday, July 8, 2013, Spane and I were hungry, so I started dinner early, at 4:30. I chopped the vegetables, cut the meat, put butter in the pan, turned the knob – and ……. nothing. No gas. I called the gas company, the special number and again was told that the office was open from 8:00am to 5:15pm, a full 45 minutes before the office was supposed to close. When calling the regular number, I got a nice woman who I kept on apologizing to because I was so mad, and she said the gas would be turned back on tomorrow, Wednesday, July 10, 2013 between 8:00am and 5:00pm, and to make sure that all pets were secure and gates open. I chuckled and said, “Humph, you didn’t seem to have any problems turning it off, did you?”

That meant that today, I don’t have gas. I have been on the phone with them, and have asked for a supervisor. I’m still waiting for a call back, but I’m not waiting anymore to make dinner. I have a small Nesco, and I’m going to make my Jambalaya in it. This is one of the reasons I have this wonderful roaster oven, so I can cook no matter what.

My recipe for Jambalaya follows, I have more recipes for foods perfect for the Nesco.

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Chicken and Rice Paprika Inspired By Hieronymus Bosch

Recipes in this PostChicken and Rice Paprika

Lately I have been reading a lot of books by Michael Connelly, and I just got through reading Trunk Music, one of the Los Angeles detective Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch series of books. I really liked this one, and there was even a part where Harry cooked dinner for this friend, Eleanor Wish.

It’s getting a little colder, even though we just had the Summer Solstice, but that’s LA for you. What Harry and Eleanor has for dinner sounded really good, and I had most of the same ingredients.

This will remind you a lot of jambalaya, and Spane thought it was at first. I just said it was chicken and rice and what ever we had in the pantry. It was good, we had seconds.

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Thanksgiving Sides – Cranberry Compote and Oyster Cornbread Dressing

Recipes in this PostCranberry-Riesling Compote Recipe adapted from Bryan Voltaggio, Range, Washington, D.C.

This year, like last year, I’m going to my friend’s for Thanksgiving, and like last year, I’m bringing something. It’s also my son, Spane’s birthday today, November 21, 2012, and he has requested Chocolate Cake with Mocha Frosting I made for his 7th birthday party. Since his birthday this year is the day before Thanksgiving, he is going to have his birthday party in December – so watch for recipes!

I have talked about going to my Grandmother’s house and wonderful turkey that came out of her Nesco Roaster. My Grandmother always had the best dressing on her table, that my Aunt Flora made every year. It was Oyster Cornbread Dressing, and it is my favorite dressing to prepare.

But, we always had canned cranberry sauce, that I really never liked. I have been making cranberry sauce for years, but today I found a new recipe that I’m going to make this year. It’s from Chef Bryan Voltaggio.

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Mediterranean Lentil Salad with Olive Toast

Recipes in this PostLentil Salad with grilled peppers, tomatos, onions and celery with a light olive oil, white wine vinegar dressing

It had been so hot lately in Los Angeles, and even though the day promised to be only in the high 70’s, I still did not want to heat up the house. It was also Friday, which in our house, means no meat. We had some left over grilled sweet peppers that I wanted to use, and some remnants of other vegetables. My friend, Amber, had planted a basil plant I had brought home into two larger containers, and they had plenty of leaves to go with my vegetables. So, what kind of good, cool salad could I make and still have the protein that our bodies require? Lentils were the perfect answer!

As I was checking out at my favorite store, the Adams Supper Market in Glendale, I mentioned my plan to the cashier, and said I would be back later to get some nice crusty bread to go with it if I didn’t have any at home. As it turned out, I did have bread at home, but by the time I discovered I didn’t have any butter, Adams Supper Market was already closed. No problem, Olive Toast to the rescue!

It’s a recipe for a cool, protein rich salad on a hot day.

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