Getting our grillin’ on

I came home from Nashville on Monday, the hubby left for Missouri on Tuesday.  I wanted an easy meal that wouldn’t make much in the way of leftovers.  Plus we had another snow storm on the way and I was totally in the mood to grill.  I think the 80 plus temperatures in Nashville had me thinking spring….

Anyway, I picked up two fillets for dinner.  I made a small batch of mashed potatoes and steamed some broccoli.   It was a perfect dinner for two to celebrate the end of winter.

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I should have realized I was jinxing us for the days ahead. Mother nature was kind enough to remind me that while the calender says spring…she decides the weather. Oh well….I thoroughly enjoyed dinner and I know that winter can’t last forever!

Nashville Hot Chicken and BBQ

They hubby was on a business trip to Europe, he came home the day I left for a business trip to Nashville.  What does that mean for my blog?  Well….I haven’t been cooking a lot lately so I thought I’d tell you about my adventures in Nashville instead.

I flew in a Friday March 16th – the day before St. Patrick’s Day.  I was there for the APhA conference.  There were a total of 3 conferences in town, of course it was St. Patrick’s Day weekend and to make it a totally insane scene – the NCAA tournament was in town.  By 3pm on Friday, lower Broadway in Nashville was a sea of humanity.  I haven’t seen this many people, this drunk, in a long time.  I counted no less than 12 bachelorette parties in under 30 minutes.

My friend flew in from Omaha to join me, we found a bar that still had room, and sat down to listen to some music and grab a drink.  Within minutes, the two girls next to us got into a lovely screaming match.  The boyfriend of the one girl came in and in his infinite wisdom decided to side with the other girl….what was he thinking people? Anyway, this caused his girlfriend to pick up her barstool and attempt  to crack him over the head with it.  Did I mention it was only 3pm….the night only got crazier from there.

Saturday morning, we headed to the Belle Meade Plantation for a tour. What a lovely house and the grounds were beautiful.  The lawn was covered in violets – dark purple, light purple, and white.  It reminded me of my MomMom’s house when I was a child. I snapped a quick photo and sent it to my Momma.

After the tour, we grabbed one of my co-workers and hit up Peg Leg Porker BBQ for a late lunch.  I got the pulled pork plate with a side of mac and cheese and smoked green beans.  The pork was good but the green beans were amazing!  They also had kool aid pickles on the menu.  I ordered a side and we split them between the three of us.  They were a violent shade of red, sour and sweet.  Not sure that I would ever order them again, but I am totally glad I tried them!

Sunday morning we hit Biscuit Love for breakfast.  The wait was an hour, we had heard so many good things about this place, I was so looking forward to breakfast.  I was sorely disappointed.  The people were lovely, but the food….was absolutely not worth the wait.

After breakfast we went to the Country Music Hall of Fame.  I have been before and it is always worth seeing!  The displays are amazing.  We decided we couldn’t leave Nashville without some Hot Chicken.  I texted my co-worker, he still wasn’t out of bed yet, in his defense, it was only 2pm….sigh….anyway, I offered to bring him back a plate.

We went to Hattie B’s  and got the Small Hot Chicken White Meat Plate with Pimento Mac and Cheese and Collard Greens.  It was soooooo good!  Absolutely worth the 45 minute wait to get in the door!

All in all it was a great weekend in Nashville and I was absolutely thrilled to share it with my friend.  Oh, and both of my work events went off without a hitch.  Whoo HOO!

Fried Fish

Once a season I fry up a batch of fish….it is the only way I will eat more than 4 oz of fish.  Is it the healthiest option, NOPE, but it tastes awesome!

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I picked up a pound of cod filets and made a quick beer batter.  I used Northwoods Fire spice in the batter so the filets had a bit of a kick. I threw together a batch of coleslaw and tossed a bag of frozen french fries in the oven.  Not the best meal I have ever put together but it was tasty and on the table in under 30 minutes.

All we needed to round out the meal was a bit of Kelchners  tarter sauce and everybody was happy!

Snowstorm Breakfast

The nice thing about a snow storm during spring break – we usually get the day off.  I was able to catch up on a bit of sleep and since the hubby was home, I made a big breakfast to start off the day.

Nothing like home fries, eggs, bacon, and toast with a nice cup of tea while the snow falls from the sky.

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My favorite thing about late winter snow storms – the snow, typically doesn’t hang around for very long.  So it is pretty to look at and gone before it can annoy me, whoo hoo!

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and yes, those are Christmas lights on my deck.  Yes, they are still up, don’t yell at me, that’s the hubby’s job – go give him hell….

Sesame Chicken

The hubby was supposed to be traveling Tuesday through Friday of this week.  He called me late in the afternoon on Tuesday to tell me that due to the impending snow storm, his plans had changed and he would not only be home for dinner, he would be home all week.

Well SHOOT, that meant, I needed to stop at the store and grocery shop for the week.  Not something I was planning on and DEFINITELY not the night before yet another nor’easter snow storm.  The store was packed and the shelves were a bit bear.  Thankfully, everyone in the store had a good attitude.  It took me longer than usual to grab dinner for the next three nights – the milk case was almost empty and we will not even talk about the bread aisle.  Surprisingly they still had a nice selection of eggs in the case.   We joke in this part of PA that you need to pick up French Toast fixin’s for snow storms – bread, milk and eggs.  Of the three, I only needed bread, whoo hoo!

Since it was already after work and it took me a while in the store, I needed a dinner that could be on the table in under 30 minutes or we wouldn’t have eaten before midnight.  I found a package from Campbell’s soup – it was a Sesame Chicken pan sauce.  You start by dicing and browning chicken, add the sauce, then simmer until the chicken is cooked through.  I figured, heck, we will try it.  I paired it with rice and fresh steamed broccoli.

It was certainly easy.  I started the rice, cleaned and prepped the broccoli, then cut and browned the chicken.  I added the sauce to the pan, covered it with a lid and started the broccoli.

I have to say it wasn’t the worst meal we have ever had, but it wasn’t the best either.  There wasn’t anything wrong with it, but it was a bit boring and had a TON of salt.  I don’t know that I will use the product again, but it was certainly made my getting dinner on the table at a relatively decent hour easy! We are anticipating yet another snow storm Sunday night into Monday.  Bless that little rodent’s heart, he was right about 6 more weeks of winter.  I can’t wait for the first day of spring!

Snow, snow, go A WAY!

I had the day off last Friday and boy was I glad to be at home. We had a lovely nor’easter that knocked out power to many folks in the area.  We were EXTREMELY lucky, we lost power a total of five times on Friday and only for a total of about 6 hours. After talking with friends and co workers, who are having to throw away the contents of their refrigerators and freezers, not to mention dressing in four layers of clothing to stay warm, I know we dodged a huge bullet.

We had concert tickets for Friday night, I was a bit concerned that the venue wouldn’t have power, but they did, the roads weren’t too too bad, so we left early and made the trek to Reading, PA.  Reading was spared, they didn’t even have snow on the ground.  The wind, however, was FIERCE! We got there early and had a nice dinner before the show.  The concert was fantastic and we got home around midnight.

I had to be at work very early Saturday morning and my event wasn’t supposed to be over until 6pm, making for a very long day on barely any sleep.  Before our power went out on Friday I had decided to make a batch of soup for dinner on Saturday night, I figured it would be so easy to just have to ladle soup into a pot and heat it up.

The hubby is a huge fan of hot italian sausage, so I started with that.  I browned the sausage, added onions, a ton of sliced carrots, a can of diced tomatoes, and two small zucchini. I added in eight cups of chicken stock, brought it to a boil, partially covered the pot and turned it to a simmer.  After 45 minutes, I added a bag of baby spinach and two cans of white beans, then turned the burner off and let it cool down.

Saturday afternoon was a bit of a bear to get home.  All of the side roads I take were blocked by downed trees or wires so I, along with everyone else, were forced onto the main highways.  A trip that normally takes me an hour, took two and a half.  I was doubly grateful that I had planned ahead for our dinner.  When I finally made it in the door at 8:30pm, the hubby had cooked off the noodles and heated up the soup.  He had already eaten early in the evening and was nice enough to do all of the dishes while I ate my dinner. I should have taken a photo but I was just way too hungry!  Believe me when I tell you, it turned out awesome and I was a very, very happy girl.

Beef Tips over Mashed Potatoes

So Sunday, I had a baby shower in Philly.  It started at 3pm and ended at 7pm. I knew I was going to need a meal that was either super easy, take out, or a crock pot meal.  I settled on a crock pot meal.

I sauteed 16 oz of mushrooms and added them to the crock pot. I tossed two pounds of beef cubes in seasoned flour and browned them.  They also went into the crock pot. I sauteed an onion in butter, again, into the crock pot.

I mixed up 2 cups of beef broth, a cup of red wine, a few dashes of worcestershire sauce, and a small can of tomato paste.  That went into the crock pot. I put it on low and got busy peeling potatoes.  I peeled and cut them, and put them in cold water.

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When I got home, it was a simple matter of cooking the potatoes, steaming the broccoli and plating the beef.  It was amazing.  The beef was so incredibly tender.  The house smelled amazing when I walked it, couldn’t ask for a better end to a Sunday, in my opinion.