When life gets too crazy or just too overwhelming, I cook. I love to cook and spending a day in the kitchen really relaxes me. Of course we then end up with tons of cooked food. Funny these need to cook days are not scheduled and don’t happen to coincide with lots of people being at my house to eat all of this food.
Yesterday was one of those days. I worked on creating some new recipes with new products. I made some of my favorite comfort foods and I also worked on key ingredients needed for our Thanksgiving meal.
When I was at the grocery I picked up some turkey legs and wings, a beautiful chuck roast that was on sale, Sockeye Salmon and Lemon Sole both on sale, a long package of chicken drumsticks also on sale and two large pork butts which I asked the butcher to run through the grinder once. As you can see I do love the sales.
Our refrigerators are now full of the following dishes and if there are any you would like me to share the recipe for, I am more than happy to.
So yesterday I woke up early and decided I was going to cook. I started with roasting the turkey parts at 450 degrees for 25 minutes along with onions and garlic. When that was done I put the roasting pan on my stove, added in cold filtered water, fresh parsley and thyme sprigs, course Celtic Sea Salt, fresh cracked peppercorns and a couple of bay leaves. Oh and the secret ingredient is apple cider vinegar with the mother. I brought it to a boil, turned it down to simmer and covered it with foil. This cooked from 7 am until 10pm. It needs to cook for many hours and you can do this in a crockpot too. I strained the stock, put it into all of those jars I save from salsas, sauces, sauerkraut and pickles. I labeled it turkey stock and let it cool in the refrigerator. This morning it went into the freezer and it will come back out for my Thanksgiving stuffing and gravy. Making stock with bones is extremely good for you. Read more here on all the benefits.
While the oven was still hot from the turkey, I made my version of shake and bake chicken legs. These are super easy and very tasty. They freeze up great and are perfect for the lunch box or meal at home.
I then got busy with the ground pork. I had tons of it so I made my Pancetta Sage Sausage and froze it in portions for Thanksgiving stuffing. I may use some of it around Christmas for Chipolatas too. Then I made my Chorizo and froze that in useable portions.
I also made amazing little meatballs with some of the ground pork and ground turkey and a special ingredient that was given to me. I’ll be posting this recipe soon. You’ll want to make these for company.
With the last of the ground pork I made a sauce in the crockpot that I’ll use over pasta. I sautéed shallots and shiitake mushrooms and then browned the pork. Tossed in some fresh parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. I added in some pork stock that I had saved when cooking off a previous pork butt. Always save the stock these meats make.
I had also purchased fish so I really needed to cook that. The salmon I broiled with olive oil, sea salt and cracked pepper. I served it with green beans with a little butter (Earth Balance soy free) and lemon squeezed on top. Simple and yum!
It was requested that the lemon sole filets be breaded and fried. This is what a cast iron skillet was made to do! So I tossed the fish in a gluten free flour, dipped it into an egg and almond milk wash, and then rolled it in the good almond flour from Honeyville. Fried it in a mix of coconut oil and olive oil and sprinkled it with a little salt. So much better than those fish sticks in a box. Oh and my secret is to sprinkle some garlic powder into the flour and onion powder and sea salt into the almond flour. Shhh, don’t tell anyone. Seasoning the first layer onto the protein and then the last layer or I should say the first layer you taste, is key to that saying, it has depth of flavor.
I happen to have more than one crockpot which comes in really handy. I have different sizes and use them at least once a week. I made a dish in the crockpot that I had made in the oven at the beach. It was cannellini beans with sausage and a special garlic paste. I have to say I liked the oven method the best but for pure comfort foods this dish is wonderful. I’ll work on sharing this recipe too as it can feed a ton of people with not a lot of money or effort.
Last but not least is my Oven Roasted Beef Stew – one of my favorite comfort foods. I made a huge pot full in my wonderful Le Creuset round French oven. I’ll portion this out in my soup mugs and freeze it for those cold days when I really want a bowl of beef stew. This is another one of those dishes that I think tastes the best cooked in the oven although the crockpot is a good second option. Again one of the keys is that bone broth that not only tastes great but is really good for you.
When it was all said and done, I had created 8 dishes yesterday. I then settled down with a nice glass of wine to see who was kicked off The Next Iron Chef.
So, what do you do to relax?
What recipes would you like me to share?