Tuesday, June 26, 2012

KISS Kabobs with Cheesy Garden Orzo

Keep it Simple Sweetheart.  That's what my junior high band director used to say... although I think he had a different word for the sweetheart.  Either way, summer veggies are here and what better way to celebrate nature's bounty then by letting it be the showcase piece! These Kabobs are easy, quick and allow for any variation you please!

 Start out with a bucket of veggies. These are just peppers and onions but tomatoes, squash, eggplant... the possibilities really are endless.  Toss them with a little evoo, s&p and I like to do a little sprinkle of sugar to help them caramelize on the grill.  you can also throw a woody herb in there like rosemary or oregano to add a little kick! 

Then its the meat.  I chose a top sirloin and did my normal marinade of evoo, balsamic, dijon mustard and garlic.  Let that sit for an hour or so to really get yummy!
Skewer away and dont leave a single piece of anything behind! I always wind up with extra veggies but who doesn't love roasted vegetables as a snack! 

In the meantime, boil some water ( I trust you to do this by now!) and cook up a pound of orzo. This little pasta goes fast so don't wander too far! Drain it and throw it back in your hot pan with 2 generous tablespoons of butter, a big handful of parm and whatever other cheeses you have on hand.  I also put goat cheese in mind but Gruyere, mozz, jarslberg, they'd all be delish. I mean its cheese, right?

Next, mix in some chopped fresh spinach and tomatoes. Again, anything can go in here, even those extra roasted veggies you have leftover from your KISS Kabobs!

Grill your Kabobs turning frequently until cooked through.  160 degrees for safe and savory with your beef but you can tell if it only has a little give to it.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Ranch Style Spaghetti and Meatballs

Hello again! I'm busy trying to stock my fridge up with good, easy and nutritious meals for when the baby gets here that I know Hoag will love and want to make.  So, here's my quick ranch version of spaghetti and meatballs! 

* now obviously, this isn't THE recipe for meatballs because I think a few people would have my head for using block mozzarella, canned breadcrumbs and just one meat but hey.. you do with what you have, and we always have beef!*

So, we'll start with 2 lbs of ground beef.  This made about 6 servings of meatballs so cut down as you see fit!  Add 6 cloves chopped garlic, a large handful chopped parsley and basil, 2 Tbsps of Fennel, 1 Tbsps of red pepper flake and mush together.

I add one egg for each 1lb of meat and 1/2 cup breadcrumb per egg... you do the math :)

Mush Mush mush... salt and pepper and voila!

ok, so here's another short cut, blocked mozzarella, albeit lacking in taste and texture, can stay frozen in your freezer until just the right time.  I'm just sayin.. these things are important when it takes 20 minutes round trip just to drive to your grocery!

Cut up your Mozz and make meatballs about the size of a golf ball. Usually I just do half, stick the cheese in there, take the other half and round it out.  It's like a little, delicious, ooey gooey surprise in your meatball that you'll thank me for.

The size is up to you :)

As a cook, one of my biggest shortcomings is patience... also why I call myself a cook and not a baker!! For perfect, round meatballs you have to stand and shake your pan to prevent too much browning or flattening on one side.  But, I think it all tastes the same so just don't forget about them.

While these are browning, ( you'll have to do it in batches) you'll want to be working on your Sunday Gravy  so you can plop the browned meatballs in the sauce.  

Another important thing to note here is you do not need your meatballs cooked all the way before they hit the sauce...  That is, if you started this in the afternoon.  A good sauce with meatballs will cook together for about three hours at least.  If you didn't get started ( honestly who has that kind of time)  you'll want to make sure they're cooked almost completely but still allow at least 1 hour for melding! 

Dish it up over your favorite cut of pasta with a little fresh grated parm and you're good to go! A fresh sprinkle of basil would be nice too but mine is struggling a bit with this heat.  Bon Appetite !

Monday, June 11, 2012

While were away

Hi Friends!!

Hoag and I will be spending a lot of time in the Hills until the baby is here so until we return, here are a few of our favorite shots to let you know who and what we're enjoying with our few last weeks!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

It's like riding a bicycle...

Well, were on the homestretch of this first pregnancy with a little over 4 weeks left and I guess I've entered the "itchy" stage.  Instead of basking in the glow of my pregnancy and trying to relish all the lovely changes I've started thinking about all the things I  miss about my non pregnant self.  So, here are a few of the things I'm looking forward to.. hopefully they all come back to me!

The first 2 million are pretty obvious baby boy Hoagland related so I'll save you all the sappy, mommy love facts and get straight to the nitty gritty

In no particular order.. ( lest you know wine and beer would be at the top!)

Runny Eggs

Cold beers on front porches after long summery days

Sleeping next to my husband ( I don't mean I have kicked my poor Hoag out of bed but the fortress of pillows that surround me make it feel like he's in the next room!) 

Seeing my toes

Not having to roll off the couch with a sundry of old man noises

size 6 jeans with no belly band

Eating whatever I want, whenever I want and not worrying about if I have met my quota for fruits, veggies, and protein.

Not having to pee every time I get off the gator to open gates

Not having to pee every time I move

Cold Pinot Grigio

Girls nights that don't involve "virgin" anything


Napping because I get to not because I have to

Seared Tuna fresh off the boat

My whole wardrobe

riding my horses and not worrying about.. well ... everything

Getting back to being motivated to doing recipe blogs and not just rushing through cooking because I have the energy.

Wine with cooking ( I think this is the main reason my cooking has gone down hill!)

Shaving my legs without fear of toddling over

My relatively hormonally balanced self.. ( did I make this up? have I always been this crazy??)

This list really could go on and on but the copious amounts of laundry  await me and I must get back to wiping down the inside of the dishwasher. - nesting anyone?-

But, most importantly, I wanted to thank those of you who have stuck with me through this off and on blog while I navigated my way through this pregnancy.  I'm hoping now that I'm back on the ranch full time I will find at least one nap time a week to get back up to speed!