Cookin’ While Workin’ from Home

I have come to accept that to save money – I must cook.  There are days I am soo swamped there just does not seem to be enough time.  I think the first thing to do is make it a priority.  With the expense of everything these days, it is critical to find ways to cut costs.

I have to admit – I am more successful at cooking when I work closer to the kitchen.  I try to work in different areas of my home to keep myself entertained.  If I stay in one spot all the time, it tends to drive me a little crazy.  I honestly plan my meals around where I am working.

When I am cooking meals that take more time, I will work in my living room which is the closest to the kitchen.  I start early with meals that require baking like baked chicken.  If I am cooking something that will be baking or cooking for a while – I may work from my bedroom.  When I work in the basement, which means two flights of stairs to the kitchen – we eat leftovers :)!

It’s about what works best for you.  I know that I need to save money, eat decent meals to be healthy, and find ways to work and cook at the same time.  We make time for everything else, we have to make time to cook for ourselves as well.

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Havin’ a lil steak – marinade, marinade, and seasoning

A client asked about a marinade for a London Broil.  I haven’t fixed one in a long time, but I think I will soon when the weather is better and I get my grill shipped from California.  This lead me to research, and reminded me that I wanted to post about seasoning.

First, let’s talk about marinades…One of the recipes I found I like, OF COURSE – I have to add my own spin on it.  You can pretty much use this on any beef that you are going to grill or broil…The quantity should be adjusted depending on how much meat you want to marinade.  I am going to use much of this when I marinade ribs for bbq as well – I just bought some St. Louis ribs that I cannot wait to cook.

In this case I am going to recommend:

1/2 c of sweet Italian Seasoning dressing

1 T of salad oil/canola

3 cloves of garlic chopped

1/2 c of Heinz 57 sauce

1/2 c of Worcestershire Sauce

1/4 tsp of seasoned salt (Johnnys I LOVE find it here)

1 T of balsamic vinegar

1/4 tsp of lemon pepper

1 tsp of italian parsley

1 whole onion – sliced thin (red)

Fresh thyme, basil, oregano, chives

Mix all the ingredients together – let sit for about 10 minutes.  Poke the meat in a few places with a fork.  Place the meat in a plastic storage bag and pour the marinade over it.  If you don’t have a storage bag large enough, I would use either a plastic container or a deeper glass dish.  Marinade overnight.

The next day grill the meat.  As for the marinade  – I would cook it in a pot and make a very thin gravy.  Taste the mixture and make adjustments by adding more seasoning if needed.  Pour a small amount in to a class with water and mix quickly with a little bit of flour using a fork making sure there are no lumps and pour back into the pot with the rest of the marinade and bring to a boil.  Turn down and simmer.  If it’s too thick – add water or a little bit of beef stock for flavor.  Once that is complete – I would add mushrooms as this recipe suggest.

Here is a recipe that I built mine from

Seasonings

I am not a fan of recipe’s that only speak of salt & pepper…I love well seasoned food.  My pantry has a full shelf of just seasoning – my staple seasonings are:

Johnny’s Seasoning, Lemon Pepper, Chili Powder, Mesquite seasoning, Ground Pepper (variety), ground garlic, cumin, basil, italian seasoning, old bay.

Just about anything I cook will get these seasonings.  I may add more or less depending on what it is I am seasoning.  Of course I am constantly trying new seasonings and marinades.  One I just found that I am learning to use correctly is Chef’s Blend Spices – Ultimate Steak Rub.  I have been using it on all of my meats.  I used it on steaks I pan broiled last nite – YUMMY!!  You gotta try it.  Here is a website where you can find it – I am definitely going to buy all of the other seasonings they have.

Hope you enjoy and please share if there is a new seasoning out there that you love…

Cooking while I work from home

I LOVE to cook but like many other entrepreneurs – I just don’t have the time.  BUT in this economy…I make the time.  It is much cheaper and healthier to cook at home, after all I am there most of the time.  My biggest tip:  plan ahead – at least THINK about it.  Not to say I have time to sit and plan each meal, but when I do grocery shop, I have what I want to cook in the back of my mind.

Most importantly – I cook from scratch.  I was one of those women that hung out in the kitchen with my grandmother.  We called her Nana and she cooked dinner EVERY day.  It was very rare for us to go OUT to eat.  Nana cooked from scratch.  She baked ALL the time (from scratch) and we always had freshly baked cakes and cookies, and pear preserves – I literally mean ALL the time.  EVERY Sunday we had a freshly baked sweet potatoe pie.

How many of you really know what cooking from scratch is?  That means – no boxes, no packages..all ingredients came from a recipe of some sort or just from remembering how to fix something – scratch!!  The best…

My Nana – baked for everybody.  She was constantly baking cakes, cookies and taking them to people when they were sick, members of her church, our friends as well.  I grew up in my grandmothers house so I was VERY exposed to her cooking. Our (me and my sister) friends would come over and expect to get something sweet from her  and dinner if they were there in time.  Everybody called her Nana or Ms. Taylor.

When I was about 11, I started cooking based on what I saw her do and I wanted to surprise her. I will never forget my first meal – fried chicken, not sure about the sides though.  I do remember that the chicken was not cooked all the way, at least the larger pieces still had blood coming out – lol.  She did not fuss, she was so proud I had tried to cook for her. After retirement, she volunteered at the hospital and took baked goods to the sick and shut in until a few months before she passed at the age of 84.  She was spunky! Hmm – did I get mine from her?

At her funeral, we all laughed and related to the minister when he talked about how she always brought him freshly baked cookies and how much he was going to miss that.    I miss my Nana.

Ok – let’s begin – first things first, to be successful at this and truly efficient, you must have the basics in your cabinet and refrigerator.  Make sure you have a variety of things such as:

  • Seasonings, broths chicken & beef, sugar, flour
  • Packages – the type that allow you to add additional ingredients for quick meals like meat loaf, tacos, spaghetti – if you see something you wanna try buy it (I know not scratch – we will discuss that later as I improvise!!)
  • fresh vegetables – always have bell pepper, onions, celery, fresh garlic, spinach and cabbage (those will last long in the refrigerator)

I eat meat, I do not fry too often, but I always keep chicken, beef, and fish in the freezer. With the basics – you can make a variety of meals.

I use some packages for seasoning .  I am always looking for various ways to add flavor.  As this blog grows – we will talk about the best packages to buy and discover new ways of cooking with them and mixing it up with scratch recipes.

We’ll this journey has just been born- Thanks to my Twitter and Facebook friends that encouraged me ….til next time

PS.  Having left-overs tonite – red beans & rice with smoked sausages cooked a few days ago!!