Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Spinach and Ham Rotini

This meal was actually a meal from leftovers which happens often, but rarely with so elegant an end-product.

Matt kept raving about it and it was then that I had underestimated his appreciation for spinach! Maybe I will add more next time...

You'll need:

8 oz. rotini
1 T. veggie oil
1 small onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14.5 oz) can chicken broth (or water with bouillion cubes)
2 T. lemon juice
1/2 c. half and half (or heavy cream)
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
Ham, cubed, slivered or WHATEVER. I used leftovers equal to one cup or so.
1 # spinach, cooked and drained
Sharp Cheddar for topping dish

Cook pasta, drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat oil over med.Hi heat. Saute onion and garlic until soft, about five minutes.
Stir in chicken broth, lemon juice, and half and half. Add bay leaf and salt and pepper. Cook until sauce is reduced by half, about 10-15 minutes.
Remove bay leaf from sauce and discard. Add ham pieces and spinach and simmer until heated through. Toss into cooked pasta and top with freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese.

Serves 4

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Beef Jerky

The way to a man's heart is through his belly, right?

EXACTLY why Matt's Father's Day present was some homemade beef jerky!

(Despite his scary expression, he loved it. Which leads me to the question: WHY do men always make faces when a camera is pointed at them?!?!?)

Beef Jerky is so stinkin' easy to make at home if you have a food dehydrator, it is BEYOND me why people would pay the outlandish store prices for it! I mean, the bag is only 1/4 full ANYWAY!!

Here is a semi-spicy (but not overly so) version of Beef Jerky that actually starts out with a smidge of sweet.

For Jerky, you can use any meat but I always get the reduced-for-quick sale thinly sliced steaks for my jerky.

Once, I paid 48cents for the WHOLE package of steaks! That was the cheapest I have ever gone, most of the time I average about $1.00.

Slice your meat (I used a whole package of four thinly sliced steaks) into strips about an inch thick. If the cut of meat you are using has fatty portions, trim them off.

In a ziploc bag put 3T. sweet barbeque sauce (I LOVE Sweet Baby Ray's!! yummo) and anywhere from 1/4 c.- 1/2c. hot sauce (depending on how much meat you have) and about 2 T. water.

(If you use more meat, just make more marinade!)

Marinate overnight.

Next day, skim the extra marinade off the meat by pulling the strips through your two fingers and place in dehydrator. (If you leave the extra sauce on, the strips will be sticky and caramelized, not a good thing for jerky.

If your dehydrator has specific settings, use the meat one, otherwise have it set at around 150 degrees.

Depending on how thick the meat is, it can take from several hours to overnight so periodically check back. When the outside is dry looking but the strips are slightly pliable they are done.

(For thinly cut steaks like I used, it takes about 6 hours)
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It makes a GREAT gift!