Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Time Off, Will Cook!

Some people look forward to a day off from work so they can rest and relax. Not me, I use it as an opportunity to get in the kitchen! Usually Sunday's are my days to prepare more elaborate, time-consuming meals because I have all day to prepare them. So when a day off comes, that means I have TWO days to prepare what I refer to as "fancy" meals! This past weekend was no exception; Sunday I prepared a modified version of Monte Cristo sandwiches, Apple Cowboy Slaw, and sweet potato fries. Monday the weather cooperated with my menu of Mushroom Seafood Chowder, Bacon and Apple Spinach Salad, and Pumpkin Scones. They were all hits! I would have to say the Apple Cowboy Slaw was probably my favorite because it was so different from the typical cole slaw recipe. With the addition of apples and grapes, this slaw really escalated into a higher level taste wise. The Pumpkin Scones were good but I think I'll stick to sweet scones and leave the savory ones for someone else. The Mushroom Seafood Chowder was a delightful treat on such a cold, snowy day. It was a very mild soup yet chock full of veggies and seafood delights. I'm posting that recipe below because it's from a cookbook (Yeah, do you remember those days when you actually got recipes from books and not the Internet?!), The Gooseberry Patch "In the Kitchen With Family & Friends".


2 slices bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled, drippings reserved
3 cups mushrooms, sliced
3 leeks, white parts only, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 med. Potatoes, chopped
2 14.5oz can chicken broth
¼ tsp pepper
1 large carrot, shredded
3 T. butter, melted
3 T. all-purpose flour
2 cups half-and-half
8 oz fresh shrimp, peeled
8 oz fresh scallops

In a large skillet, combine reserved bacon drippings with mushrooms, leeks and garlic. Cook over medium heat until mushrooms and leeks are tender. Add potatoes, broth and pepper to skillet; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, until potatoes are tender. Add shredded carrot to skillet and bring to a boil. Blend together margarine and flour, add alternately to chowder with half and half. Bring to a simmer; add shrimp, scallops and bacon. Continue to cook until shrimp are pink, 4-5 minutes. Serves 10-12. (I cut the ingredients and only made about 2/3 of the recipe. However, I found this only served 4 as a main entree.)

Here are a few photos of some of the other recipes:

Monte Cristo Sandwiches

Apple Cowboy Slaw

Pumpkin Parmesan Scones

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