Sunday, August 23, 2015

This Week's Menu

First of all... I know I have a few people who have "missed me".... the blog has had to take a back seat to going back to work full time. I always forget just how 100% draining the first couple of weeks of school are. It probably doesn't help that Kyson starts school too (duh huh?) and football. And well... we go from lazy hazy days of summer to BAM Full speed ahead! Couple that with trying to squeeze every moment of "summer" out of our weekends... I haven't been doing any writing.

I have however taken pictures of some great recipes I've made. And I will blog them soon. No promises... this is just "week 2" of school. However, it is also the last week of "every day football pracitices" for Kyson.

Until then... I thought it would be fun to share my week's menu. Even though I'm busy, I am committed to making time for a family dinner. Oh, and I'm back to working really hard to eat "clean". For me that means very limited grains, dairy and no processed sugar.

Momday: Grilled Asian Short Ribs, Veggie Stir Fry, Brown Rice (for the boys) I will skip the rice.

Tuesday: Grilled Pesto Chicken, Mushroom/Spinach Rissoto (this is why I will skip the Rice on Monday, I LOVE this rissoto). Sauted zucchini, yellow squash and onions.

Wednesday: Grilled Burgers, Fresh sliced tomatoes, Corn on the Cob (the season is coming to an end!!! BOO!) and the boys will have Baked Beans.

Thursday: LEFTOVERS. If no leftovers (and with the way Kyson is eating these days... there might not be!!!) I will thaw out and make a pork tenderloin in the Covered Deep Dish Baker. (Pampered Chef!) I LOVE LOVE LOVE this product! W the pork we will have veggies from our CSA (we get that box on Wednesday... so not sure yet!) and mashed sweet potatoes.

Friday: Pizza on the Grill! One of my favorite fall foods!!!! I buy Mostly baked crusts from a local bakery (LaQuartier) and pull out any veggies left in the fridge from the week. Fresh Mozzarella. Panchetta. And do them on the grill. Great for an easy supper after a long week!

Saturday: I'm hoping we are going to the lake..... so "Boat food!"

Sunday: I'm hoping its as gorgeous of a day as today is, and I am going to fire up the smoker and make some smoked meats for the week ahead!!!

Share your menu plans for the week in the commnets!!! I'd love to read what eveyrone is making!!!!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Sweet Sweet Summertime

Summer is bliss at it's finest. Lazy days to do whatever, whenever, with whomever. This summer was very restufl. Which is just what the doctor ordered. No, really, I started summer with a broken rib (from puking), mono, a UTI, and a huge batch of bloodwork showing numerous vitamin defencies. I did what the doctor told me to.... NOTHING. I rested. A lot. So much so, in fact, that I sacrificed pool time. But....the good news is, I feel better than I have felt in a very long time. And, I did manage a few trips to the pool, and lake! I am mentally ready to roll for a fanatstic school year ahead. Kyson is looking forward to being the "big guy on campus" as a 5th grader, I'm teaching a new culinary class, and even Bentley is looking forward to the fact that somehow, over summer, his crate became non-existant.

Today was the last day for "our" pool to be open. And realistically, the last day of outdoor swimming in a chlorinated pool for us until next summer. It looked as though it was going to be grey and cloudy, but the sun came out, friends came to the pool, and a lot of fun was had.

To wrap up the "last day of summer" I made one of my favorite suppers. "Pesto Pizza". My basil is in over-drive this summer. I have frozen numerous bags for the long winter, and we have eaten a lot of basil infused foods. This one, however, is my favorite. I simply took leftover buns (from the burgers we had earlier this weekend), and spread some fresh pesto on them, sliced a few mushrooms, tomatoes, and some panchetta. Then put some fresh mozzarella on top. Broiled for a couple of minutes, and served with.... you guessed it.... red wine (for me) and lemonade (for Kyson.)

Enjoy the lingering days of warmth, the monarchs on their annual migration, sweet corn (blog post on this coming soon!), and the smell of fresh cut grass.... because all too soon, we will be eating Potato Soup and talking about homemade pasta (a snow day tradition at this house!)


Sunday, July 19, 2015

Sunday Funday!

I'm very much looking forward to this afternoon. On kind of a spur of the moment I decided to include inviting my friends to join me on my cook-a-thon. I thought there would be one or two who would be interested, turns out, there are a lot more! So... today from about 4pm-7pm there will be a group of crazy women cooking between 7 and 13 meals for their freezers and families. How cool is that! Actually it will probably be really hot, but alas... we are going to knock out some cooking, and take care of the "what's for dinner" stress for several weeks!!!YEA!!! I bet there will be some laughter also!

I do want to share one of my favorite easy summer grilling recipes on this post though. Grilled Potato Packets. First of all if you CAN have a grill, you NEED a grill. It doesn't have to be anything fancy, but a propane grill that you can fire up on a moment's notice is truly worth the investment. I'm certain that they are on clearance at places like Sears, Lowes, Home Deopt etc. Or check Craig's list (but be careful... if someone is getting rid of a grill it likely needs repairs, and many times the item that needs repaired on the grill, costs just about as much as a new grill.) LADIES.... do not be scared of the grill!!! It will not blow up or singe your eyebrows off. You can do this!

Grilled Potato Packets are so simple, and taste so yuumy. Great with steaks, pork chops, bbq chicken. Whatever.


1 potato per person, plus 1-2 more (so, I was making packets for 4 the other night, I used 6 potatoes).
Diced Yellow Onion (for 6 potatoes I used about 1/2 of a large one)
3-4 cloves minced garlic, or garlic seasoning
1 T. oil per packet
1 T. Butter per packet
Salt and Pepper
2-3 ice cubes per packet
Aluminum Foil

1. Lay out a long length of foil. I used about 18-22" of foil. Don't skimp here!
2. Cube potatoes. I cut in half the long way, and then half again (so you end up with 4 long pieces of potato) then cut into about 1/2 " pieces.
3. Lay potatoes and onion on foil.
4. Sprinkle with seasonings.
5. Drizzle with oil.
6. Add butter. (not melted)
7. Add ice (not melted)
8. Put another piece of foil on top. Roll edges up. To make a packet.
9. IF YOU ARE NOT USING HEAVY DUTY FOIL wrap with a 2nd layer of foil. This helps so it doesn't tear, and also helps it not burn.
10. Put packets on an ALREADY HOT GRILL. I heat my grill before I start. On "High". Then turn down to about medium for this.
11. CLOSE THE LID. Let them cook, don't peek, for about 8-10 minutes.
12. Flip. CLOSE THE LID. Let them cook for another 8-10 minutes.
13. Then I move them to the "top rack" while I grill whatever meat I'm grilling.
14. CAREFULLY remove from grill (grilling tongs are pretty essentil here).
15. VERY CAREFULLY open. There will be steam (from the ice). It is VERY HOT.

ENJOY!!!!! And best yet, no dishes, no hot kitchen from making potatoes in the oven. YUM!
(Ps this works with sweet potatoes also!)  Also. I know someone will ask... nope, I don't peel the potatoes.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Fridge Cleaning

Now, before you go away, because you think this post isn't about COOKING... hang in here with me. I promise, a very yummy recipe, and some other ideas too. But first, let's talk about fridge cleaning. I love to shop for food. I love to cook food. However SOMETIMES I'm shopping and I see something beautiful in the produce section, or there's an excellent sale on some kind of cheese that I've been wanting to try in a recipe so I buy it. Then, life gets in the way. And... I end up with a fridge full of great ideas that are starting to go bad, figuratively, and literally.

I clean my fridge every week. EVERY WEEK?? I must be insane. No. I just refuse to put "new food" in with "old food". I don't DEEP CLEAN it every week (I do that about 4 times a year, End of summer, Before Thanksgiving, After the Holidays, and Spring Break.) But, I do go through my produce drawers, and cheese drawer and make sure what I have is usable, get rid of any leftovers that are still left from the week, unless I am 100% certain they will get eaten in the next day or two. And, I wipe out the shelves. I'd show you a picture, but if you look above you will see that my fridge hasn't been "deep cleaned" since March. It's due. But I'm waiting until next week for that project.

Here is a very delicious salad I made with some veggies on the verge. They weren't bad, but I didn't have much of them, and they were sort of a random set of odds and ends. Here is what I started with:

There was some (cooked, leftover) sweet-corn, about 1/3 of a red onion, a half of a cucumber, some garden grape tomatoes, some hot peppers. The basil is fresh from my garden. And I knew I wanted a dressing. I had bought limes a couple of weeks ago for guacamole, and still had one left, so I decided (and my good friend Ann, suggested) a honey lime vinegrette. Viola.

Basically I just chopped everything up, put it in a bowl. Made a vinegrette. (about 2 T. Honey, Juice of the lime, and 1 T. canola oil). ps... I would have selected grapeseed oil or an EVOO but I am out. I need a big grocery buying trip. However I am trying REALLY HARD to get everything used up in my pantry and cupboards before I do that. SO... for this salad, a bit of canola worked.

You should know that I tasted the dressing before I dumped it on my salad. TASTING AS Y OU GO IS SO IMPORTANT. It needed "something" so I added some garlic, salt and pepper. Much better. Then I added PART OF IT to the salad and mixed. I didn't want my salad drowning. I did go ahead and add the rest. Also as I look at the picture I am reminded I didn't use all 4 ears of corn... just two. As I was cutting and mixing I realized I would have had WAY more corn than anything else, and I wanted a salad more equal in veggies. Finally, I remembered there were two leftover slices of bacon from the night before's BLT's in the fridge! JUST what this salad needed. So I added those.

Here is the finished salad! It was VERY GOOD! And out of food that in about 2 more days would have ended up in the trash!

I know I can hear this already... "BUT CAMELLE... YOU are a great cook and can do that kind of thing, not me!" No, you can. You just have to be willing to TRY. Remember, those veggies were likely headed for either a boring lettuce salad, or the trash. So NO HARM in cutting them up and trying something different.

Other ideas for that fridge cleaning day:

  • Put the veggies that can go into a soup in the freezer (carrots, celery, zucchini, onions, garlic) I just usually chop them up and put them in ziplock bags (seperately) and freeze. Then when I need a bit of something for a soup, or even casserole,j Or I want to sneek some extra nutrients into something I have it. Free. And pre-chopped.
  • If you are a smoothie drinker, go ahead and stick that kale or romaine lettuce in a bag in the freezer. It won't make a good salad after it's been frozen, but it works fine in a smoothie. 
  • Fruit: chop it up and add a splash of lemon juice (bottled is fine) and put in the freezer. Again, works great in smoothies, plus it makes your smoothie more "icy" without adding ice.  Or you can bake with it. 
  • Another way to PREVENT all of this is to preprep your veggies and fruits RIGHT when you get home from the store. If you bought a watermelon... don't just stick it in the fridge. Cut it up into cubes and put it in a container. MUCH easier for snacking or serving. I precut up a couple of onions. I know when I cook during the week I will need "diced onion" I put it in most everything. So, just cut up 2-3 and then you've saved that step when you are trying to quickly put supper together. (Diced onion freezes REALLY WELL too btw... so if you are super motivated buy a whole bag at SAMS for like $3 and dice them all up and put in the freezer, just take out what you need as you need it!)
I hope this helps you  get a grip on the fridge issue. No new food until you use up or get rid of the old food! Trust me, you will be happy you follow this tip! 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Peach Jam!

Peaches are my very favorite fruit. I love their sweet juiciness. Summer is my very favorite season, not just because of pool and lake time, but peaches, and so much other fresh produce is available. One of the things that my mom and grandmothers taught me was how to preserve that fresh produce for the winter. My mom would can jars and jars of peaches. I don't like to can "just peaches" as frankly, you can get those on sale and there isn't much that is "special" about canned peaches. Peach jam on the other hand; that is like a little jar of sunshine on my pantry shelf. A warm piece of toasted bread with a schmear of butter and peach jam while the snow is flying... yes please!!!

Today was the day to make and can a batch of peach jam. I had the peaches, and the temperatures outside were mild, as opposed to tomorrow when it will be HOT. Trust me, canning is much more plesant when it isn't super hot.

One of the keys to having great canned food, is starting with great produce. These peaches were amazing. So very sweet, juicy, and their skins just slipped right off. I got these peaches from The Fruit Club. (If you live in Lincoln, they have another truck coming next Wednesday, July 15th. I plan to get another 25# box then... to make and freeze pies, and peach slices).

The first step is to blanche the peaches. This simply means you will have a large pot of hot/simmering (just below a boil) water, and a sink full of really cold (ice) water. Put several peaches into the hot water for 2  minutes. Take them out (use tongs!) and put into the ice water. Then the peels should slip right off. Then cut the peaches in half and remove the pit. Make sure you get the entire pit. Next up is dicing the peaches. Since this is for jam, it doesn't have to be pretty. In fact, I really like random oddly shaped pieces. Just make sure your pieces are of similar size. I just lay the peach halves onmy cutting board and rough chop through the peaches a couple of times. 

After you've gotten the peaches diced, they go into the pot. I follow the recipe on the Pectin Box. It is basically 1 cup of sugar per 1 1/3 (one and one third) cups of diced peaches. Cook the peaches and sugar until it's boiling. 

Notice the pot change??? Well I chose too small of a pot, and shortly after turning the burner on I had peaches and sugar running over the edges... so I had to upgrade the pot size. Note... it is always better to start with a pot bigger than you think you need. ANYWAY. Simmer the peaches and sugar until they are at a good rolling boil. Do you see that foamy guck on top? Use a spoon and skim that off. I do this several times while it is coming up to a boil. It will help so when you can your jam, it is a pretty clear jam and not murkey looking. 

Next, add the pectin. Follow the directions on your package of pectin. You CAN make pectin free jam, but it just doesn't thicken up enough for what I like in jam. After you add the pectin, return to a rolling boil, continuing to skim any of the foamy guck off. 

The next step is probably the most imporant. And I didn't take any pictures. You must have sterile jars and lids and rings. I do this by running the jars and rings through the dishwasher, and putting the lids in a small pan of simmering water on the stovetop. CAREFULLY fill the jars. You want to leave about 1/4" space at the top. TAKE THE TIME to go back and carefully wipe the top of each jar. You don't want ANYTHING there. If there is a bit of jam on the jar top, the lid won't seal. And then you will be sad. 

Finally, put the jars into your canner. I don't actually have a "canner" I have a REALLY LARGE stock pot. And it works. And I'm lucky. It doesn't have a rack, so the jars sit on the bottom, which can get too hot and cause your jars to crack. I need a canner. Perhaps that should be on my Christmas List. Anyway. Put the jars into warm (not boiling) water. The water should cover the jar lids by an inch or 2. Then turn on the heat and bring the water to a gentle boil. Once the water starts boiling (not when you turn the heat on, when the water is boiling) start your timer. You should boil for 10 minutes. (Times need adjusted if you live in a higher altitude than 1,000 feet above sea level...Lincoln btw... is 1, 127 feet... so the 10 minutes works).

After they process for 10 minutes take them out of the water. Having a "jar grabber thing" is really helpful here, although I've done it with tongs before. Set on a towl and just leave them alone. It is tempting to "push on the tops." But, refrain. Soon you will hear the "ping ping ping'ing" of the lids sealing.

Aren't those just gorgeous little jars of sunshine!? This is also a lovely gift with a loaf of crusty bread! That is if you want to share! ENJOY! Let me know if you try this out!! It isn't nearly as difficult as you might think!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Summer Basil...sweet sweet basil.

I love basil. It is in fact my favorite herb. I could eat caprase salad daily. I love fresh basil on grilled chicken. I put it in with mascerated strawberries. Heck, I love picking a stem of it and putting it with fresh cut roses in a vase. The combo of the smell of basil and roses is just glorious.

My garden at school is rocking and rolling this year! YEA lots of rain and some hot days. I went over today and the basil plants (all three of them) were GINORMOUS. So, I cut the basil and made pesto. I was able to freeze 5 bags of it for a winter day. There isn't much better than taking out a bag of fresh pesto during a blizzard and reliving a warm July day!

The only sad part about basil is that once you blend it all up into pesto... that huge pile that you were certain would make a donzen bags... makes five. But beyond that, pesto is so simple. There are so many ways to make pesto. Some call for nuts, some do not. Some have parmesean cheese some do not. I like Ina Garten's recipe. However, I didn't have nuts on hand today, so I made a simpler version closer to this one:  I'm not a great measurer, and really I didn't have a ton of olive oil on hand. This pesto is a bit thicker, but since I'm the one cooking with it, I just know that it is good to dilute it down with more evoo or some cream and it will still be very flavorful. Essentially pesto is about two parts basil to one part olive oil plus some garlic, salt and pepper.

I use pesto with pasta mostly. I also love smearing pesto on a pizza crust and putting tomatoes, prosciutto, and fresh mozzarella on it and then either grilling or baking.

My Pesto....sorry the picture is upside down.
But the pesto is now in the freezer, and I don't want
to get it out to re-take the picture. I hope you understand. :)

Ps: here's Ina's Pesto recipe (I like that it has both walnuts and pine nuts... and she even says sometimes she uses only walnuts.)

Monday, July 6, 2015

Holy Guacamole!!!

I'm fairly certain my grandma never made, and maybe never even tried, guacamole. She was very much a "farm cook." And avacados don't grow well in Nebraska. However, guacamole is one of our little family's favorite snacks. I seem to make it differently most every time I make it. This last batch though was worthy of writing down what I did. It was AWESOME. My very pregnant sister in law loved it. I may need to make her a batch this coming week for putting up with all of our 4th of July shenanagins.

Before I share the recipe, here are some keys to making awesome guacamole:

-Select great avacados. I LOVE the ones they have at SAMS club. They have never done me wrong. I like "chunky" guac, so I don't want them over ripe. This picture really is very accurate in determining this.
(photo credit:

-Make sure you use "something" to prevent your avacodos from browning. I like using fresh lime juice (see recipe below) But also pressing plastic wrap down directly on top of your guacamole helps. 

-BE CAREFUL TAKING THE PIT OUT!!!! Yes, I know this from experience. For as tempting as it is to use a knife to "stab" the pit.... DO NOT DO THIS.... if you miss... your knife will quickly go through the fleshy avacodo and into your hand. This requires a trip to Urgent Care. And that just puts a damper on the evening. Pictured is the CORRECT WAY.
(photo credit:

-You will see in the recipe below I use two of my all time favorite seasonings. One is the Fiesta Party Dip Mix, the other is Garlic Garlic. Both are Tastefully Simple products. These (along with Onion Onion, and Seasoning Salt from TS) are pantry staples for me. I only wish they sold them in 5 pound bags instead of little jars. If you do not have these you could sub 3-4 cloves of garlic and a couple of jalapenos for the heat in this. I "usually do use" jalapenos, but I didn't have any on hand, and really wanted to make this for our boat trip on Friday. I LOVED the Fiesta Party Dip Mix. PLUS you can control the heat more than with a fresh pepper. 

-You will notice one very comon guacamole ingredient completely missing from this... that is fresh cilantro. While I'm sure it would be lovely in here... I am very allergic to it. So, feel free to add it, just don't ask me to taste test. 

-If you prefer "creamy" or "creamier" guacamole, you could throw all of this into a food processor, and viola.... creamy!


6 medium avacados (conviently that is what comes in a bag of them from SAMS), small diced.
2 medium tomatoes, small diced
1/2 red onion, small diced
Juice of 2 fresh limes
1/2  t. fresh ground black pepper (about 15-20 grinds)
1/4 t. salt. (I don't use much, because typically the chips we use to dip this with are pretty salty)
1/2 lidfull of Garlic Garlic (or 3-4 minced cloves of garlic)
1 lidfull of Fiesta Party Dip Mix (or 2 finely diced/seeded or not, jalapenos... or more if you like more spicy.)

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Cover. Refregerate for 2-3 hours. Serve with chips. 

Easy Peazy!!!! ENJOY!!!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Southern Style

This past week I got the privilege to spend a week at a Culinary School at Missippi Women's University in Columbus, Ohio. I learned a ton, got to experience foods and people and places I have never had the opportunity to, and well, I now have a few more "foodie friends" on my friend's list. Tomorrow I have the opportunity to share what I learned with LPS FACS Collegues. Here is the power point about the trip. The LPS friendly version. Come back to the blog tomorrow for the fun food and drink pics and restaurant reviews from the "after hour's" time.

Lookin' the Part!!!!


Friday, June 19, 2015


I have never in my life liked pickles. Which has been interesting. My Grandma Yost was KNOWN for her home made pickles. She pickled most anything and everything. She won many county and even state fair ribbons for her pickles. If grandma was bringing food to something, she brought (among other things) a pickle plate. All homemade pickles, and if it was around Christmas, Pickled Herring too.

I should like pickles. I love cucumbers. I like sweet. I like tangy. I like dill. But I do not like pickles. Until today. After a very arduous trip to LPSDO (Lincoln Public Schools District Office) all in the name of checking out a credit card for this little culinary camp adventure I'm about to embark on, I decided to stop at Whole Foods. It was nearly lunch time, and I noticed they were grilling in the parking lot. EXCELLENT burger and some chips and a drink for just over $5. I digress. Pickles. One of the toppings for their burgers was their "house label" bread and butter pickles. I wasn't going to take one, but the grill master insisted I try one. Ok, Ok, I'll play... I tried one. And asked for another. It was the perfect blend of sweet/spicy/tangy. And oh, my, the crunch. Delicous. I was hooked. So hooked in fact, that I ventured into the store, and bought a jar all for myself. Ok, and a few other things as well. DANGIT. Oh well. I'm glad that jar of pickles is in the fridge. A very tasty snack.


So once again, I have decided I need to do a Food Blog. I love food. I love all things about food. Growing food. Shopping for food. Cooking food. Sharing food. Tasting food. Going out to eat food. This blog is called Table at Road 307. Road 307 is the road my grandparent's home of over 60 years is on. I learend a lot about food.... and about life at that kitchen table. I hope this blog is a way to share what I have learned about food... and about life with each of you.