Masthead header

July 7, 2020 -Chicken with Cornbread is a made-up recipe. It’s what most of us do on a daily basis when it comes to making dinner. I figured out what to make on the fly. We do what we must to get some food on the table toward the end of the day. Cornbread is not exactly a great choice. It is a tasty one though which counts for something.

Cornbread with a meal is a classic Southern option. Having grown up in New York cornbread was not commonly made with meals. I could be wrong about this but I don’t think we ever had it with a meal growing up. I would say potatoes or rice were staples for the carbohydrate side with our dinners.

Cornbread has a rich history dating back to Native Americans:

https://www.southernliving.com/veggies/corn/southern-history-of-cornbread-video

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornbread

Cornbread History

For this meal, cornbread was a good addition though not one I would repeat often. I made a gluten-free cornbread. The problem with gluten-free baked products is they tend to be dry. We end up putting some butter or jam or both on it and BAM! those calories increased in no time at all.

To cook the chicken I marinated it in a bit of olive oil and thyme. It was just okay. I had done this pork chops and it was great. I’m not sure why the chicken wasn’t as good.

I added some summer veggies to the chicken and cornbread to round out the meal.

All the way around I’d say this was just an okay meal that I wouldn’t repeat.

July 5, 2020 ~ Meet Mimi. Mimi is our mini Dachshund. She is mostly a nice dog. I wouldn’t say she is sweet as much as she is nice. She has a bit of a growly attitude from time to time. In this photograph, she’s sitting on Kate’s lap after we ate our fabulous dinner. Mimi has a bit of a forlorn look because she knows she’s not getting any of what we had. We do not feed our dogs from the table…most of the time.

Mimi was born in Germany. Mimi was our son’s pup. He got her while stationed in Germany. He couldn’t take her to his next duty station so we adopted her. She is a funny little dog and we are happy to have her as part of the family. She is a true mini weighing in at 8 1/2 pounds. She doesn’t like going for walks or the cold weather. She does like finding a snake now and though and going to battle with it. So far she has survived those fights. The little lizards we have around here haven’t been so lucky. She’s managed to do a number on a few of them.

For this meal, Kate cooked up a surprise. A surprise because I really wasn’t sure what it was going to be. She explained it to me but I couldn’t quite envision it. It was an Italian Chicken Pesto Pot Pie with a side of veggies.

It was a Betty Crocker recipe: https://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/italian-chicken-pesto-pot-pie/7228d72a-8044-4b49-80ca-27b681c52d7b

Kate subbed in gluten-free Bisquick to fit my need. It was a meal that seemed like it would be higher in calories than it was. It came in at 442 calories per person.

This is an excellent comfort, cold-weather food, though having it in the middle of summer was spot on as well. Five more meals and this challenge has been met with high marks.

Until the next time!

 

Dedicated to my uncle, Joseph Duffy, a Marine who served in the Korean War. I owe my deep sense of patriotism to Uncle Joe. 

July 4, 2020 ~ Like many Americans I love the 4th of July. When I was a kid my Uncle Joe used to take us to a parade. It started at a fire department in Dix Hills on Deer Park Ave just north of the Northern State Parkway. Those of us who wanted to go piled in his station wagon.

My Uncle Joe married my mother’s sister, Mary. They met when they were teenagers in Brooklyn. Uncle Joe’s family was like my dad’s, poor, and moved often. Like my dad, he adored my mom’s family especially my grandma. Gram was a non-judgemental, loving woman. Joe, and my dad, John, found grounding and kindness beyond measure with Gram.

Uncle Joe was a reservist in the United States Marine Corps. When the U.S. began sending the military to Korea he was called up to go. He was of the few who were shipped out before they even made it to boot camp. The young man from Brooklyn, who had never traveled before or knew how to use a rifle, was on a train heading toward the West Coast so fast it would make many of us weak in the knees. He became a Marine on that train, learned how to be a rifleman, and wrote to his mother and Mary. In Korea, he was part of the Chosin Reservoir Campaign: https://www.businessinsider.com/chosin-reservoir-campaign-marine-corps-2014-6 

My earliest memories of the 4th of July was walking over to Aunt Mary and Uncle Joe’s to go to the parade. Uncle Joe got revved up for the parade by listening to big band, parade music. I would hear it coming from the living room window.  Their only daughter, Jean, and I would go to the parade with the little kids in the family. Our moms, Mary and Carol, the sisters, lived next door to one another on Long Island. Between them, there were nine children, four in my family and five in theirs. Jean and I each have two older brothers. I have a younger sister and she has two younger brothers, they were the ‘little’ kids. Jean, me, and the little kids piled into Uncle Joe’s station wagon. We always took the rear-facing seat in the back or way back as we use to say. It was my introduction to patriotism. It stuck with me for life. I felt special all of my life because he was my godfather and took me to parades.

Uncle Joe did not talk much about being in the war or being a Marine. He carried them both with him like another layer of skin.

It never escapes me the sacrifices Uncle Joe made and my son, Sean. Sean has been on five combat deployments. He is infantry. I can’t even begin to fathom what it is to be in the hell of war.

When we celebrate the 4th of July in our family we do so in honor of all of those who have served our great country, therefore, we serve up American food on this holiday: hamburgers, corn on the cob, roasted red potatoes with minced garlic, and ice cream for dessert. No calories were accounted for. We were on holiday.

The roasted red potatoes is a recipe given to me by my beautiful friend, Madge:

  • cut up small red potatoes, a whole bag is what I used
  • melt 2 tablespoons of butter with minced garlic to taste
  • drizzle the melted butter over the potatoes in a baking pan
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cook for about 45 minutes at 450 degrees, at the end I broiled them to give them a nice brown top

The corn:

I trimmed the tops of the husks, and took off the old, outer layers of the husks, soaked them in water for about a half an hour, and cooked them on the grill. I put them on one side of the grill while the burgers were cooking on the other side. Burgers and corn cooked for about 16 minutes or so.

Until the next time!

 

 

 

Credit: National Museum of American History

July 3, 2020 ~

We’ve made many good meals over the last few weeks. We always have some leftover. At some point, one must dispose of the extras piling up in the fridge by either consuming or tossing them. Conservationtionists at heart we find ways to use them.

According to the National Museum of American History, the term leftovers was coined in the late 1890s.  Over the next several decades the concept of food conservation grew beginning in earnest in 1917 with slogans like this:

“Food waste in the household, the experts assert, results in large measure from . . . failing to serve and utilize food not consumed.”

–U.S. Department of Agriculture poster, 1917

By the Great Depression, the idea of leftovers was an obsession in households across America:“Leftovers Shouldn’t Be Left Over,” Good Housekeeping magazine, 1930

It was a trend that continued through WWII:

We are in good company with food conservation nights. As many of us have experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic food supply chains are not what we are used to. We have sometimes “settled” for food choices we would not ordinarily purchase. To avoid unnecessary exposure to the virus we cook with what we have on hand because we only shop once a week. We have often made adjustments to recipes because we did not have a specific ingredient in stock. We make it work and we make it as delicious as we can because it is one way we are getting through this challenging, sometimes boring, anxious, uncertain time in our lives.

For this dinner, Kate pulled out of the fridge all of the leftover pork meals from the last few days and the sides: pulled pork, pork with gravy, and pork skewers. We had a little of this and a little of that. No calories were counted and all of our tastebuds were satisfied.

Until the next time!

 

July 2, 2020 ~ A trend is occurring with this pork chop and tater tot theme we have going. Kate has been contributing to our food supply with a monthly ButcherBox shipment. It is sometimes hit or miss with what is available. Chicken breasts were difficult to get for a bit so she filled in with the other white meat, pork chops. The chops have been a solid replacement in terms of flavor. They do require more attention when cooking than chicken breasts. For example, searing them seems to be a good technique to lock in the juices. This is not necessarily so for chicken breasts. In fact, typically I will cook chicken breasts in a baking dish in the oven. I put some broth, and balsamic light salad dressing over them, maybe some sundried tomatoes, maybe Italian sauce on Tom’s, and the dressing just on mine. I cook them for about 35 to 40 minutes at 400 degrees. It’s lazy, easy, and tasty. Though I am still sold on pork chops as an alternative they do need more tender loving care.

The kabob dinner was mine to make. The marinade for the pork was outstanding. I cut up the chops into chunks and onion as well then sit them in the marinade for an hour. I know, it should have been hours, but I forgot. The weather was perfect for kayaking so we lit out of the house in the early afternoon without giving it a second thought. Based on Tom cleaning his plate I would say an hour in the marinade was just fine.

This is the recipe: https://natashaskitchen.com/grilled-pork-shish-kabobs-shashlik/

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 lb pork tenderloin trimmed and cut into 1 1/2″ pieces – I used two pork chops instead
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large red onion cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 Tbsp fresh parsley to garnish optional

I used wood skewers and wasn’t crazy about them. The metal ones would be better because they will hold the heat and helped to cook the meat and they are easier to turn.

The sides were tater tots and all the fresh summer vegetables I could put my hands on.

Hands-down, good meal. It was light in calories, and tasty. Worked out well for diabetic Tom and easier than most foods for ALS Tom since no cutting was involved.

It was a good low-calorie meal as well as coming in at 469 per serving.

Until the next time!