Thursday, December 18, 2014

A bit of cookery

   One of the things I do on my days off is cooking for the coming week. I'll prepare some large dishes. In general these days I'll make Stuffed Bell Peppers, Shepherd's Pie, and Spaghetti. Tomorrow I'll make the large batch of Spaghetti.  
   Of course there is a need to go to the store to get the things to cook. Here's the bike trailer with my groceries today. As you can see I do use the reusable bags. One of the reasons is I don't want the plastic bags to end up in the dump. The second reason is these bags work so much better in a bicycle trailer.

   After going to the store I was hungry so this was lunch. I just happen to love burritos smothered in green chili and cheese. It's probably a good thing for me that I never gain weight because I can sure eat. I've been having to live on really tight food budgets though that no longer applies as much. 

   Here is the Shepherd's Pie. I used 1 lb ground beef, 3 cans mixed vegetables, 1 can cream of celery soup. parmesan cheese, onion and garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, ground thyme. The ground beef I fried and drained before mixing it in with the other ingredients. The baking temp I use is 350 F.
   For the mashed potatoes I used about 4 lb of russet potatoes diced and boiled.  I also mashed in some margarine. I'd rather have butter but my food budget still isn't quite where I want it to be. The baking time was about half an hour and I just stuck it in with the bell peppers. The pan size is 9 x 13 and yes I have glass bakeware. I love the stuff as it works really great. I think I've had these glass pans for about seven years now. They last essentially forever.

   This is my version of stuffed bell peppers this time. On one of the food sites I'd seen where they had sliced them the long way instead of the way you normally see them so I decided to try it. I will say they were much easier to fill. The basic ingredients this time are three bell peppers, one lb ground beef, a small can tomato paste, a small can tomato sauce, the same spices I used with the Shepherd's Pie. For the rice I measured out half a cup of dry rice which I then cooked. I'm not quite sure how much it yielded.
   One thing that works really well is take any extra meat/rice mix and layer the bottom of the pan. It will help keep the peppers upright while cooking. Not only that everyone seems to love the stuffing so you might as well cook it along with the peppers. 
   For 45 minutes it's baked with a piece of foil over it, then I remove the foil and stick it back in for 15 minutes more. It's also baked at 350 F. 
   I have used tomato soup in the past. This time I tried something different and used the paste and sauce. The bell pepper is juicier and there is a lot more flavor as I'm eating the first one. It's to die for.

 After removing the foil one other thing I like to do is sprinkle some cheese on top for that last ten or fifteen minutes. If you decide to follow suit don't add the cheese any earlier because it will burn. Here I'm using a combination of grated parmesan and cheddar.

   A little later I'll take a little of both of these dishes and set up a couple of my lunches for the coming week. What's even better doing this is I won't have to cook when I get home from work. All I have to do is set up a plate and stick it in the microwave for about a minute and a half. It sure makes my life easy.
   Until next time happy cooking.