Chicken In A Pot

LeCreuset Pot

We recently bought some fresh from the farm chickens. Yes, the same chickens that gave me fresh eggs.  The chickens were butchered, wrapped and frozen. Mmmmmm. It is a great feeling to know that the freezer has meat in it for the winter. We will soon be adding more farm fresh meat. For my first chicken I cooked it in my favorite pot. A Le Creuset enameled cast iron dutch oven I received as a wedding gift 29 years ago. It has been my go-to pot for many recipes; and if you don’t have one, buy one. It is worth the price.

Today’s chicken was a tweeked recipe from Martha Stewart. I toned back her “40 Cloves Chicken” to 10 cloves.  Personal preference.

10 Clove Chicken In A Pot

Lightly Oil Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven with olive oil

Place 3-4 lb whole chicken in pot (chicken should be rinsed and pat dry)

Rub 2 Tbsp butter on chicken and inside cavity

Sprinkle dried thyme on chicken and inside cavity – about a tsp

Peel 1 bulb of garlic. Cut each clove into smaller pieces and sprinkle in and around chicken.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake at 450 degree oven for 30 minutes covered, uncover, baste and cook until browned and internal temp is 165 in the breast.  Basting every 15 minutes.

Oh, that brown crusty skin and juicy meat.  A side of carrots and red potatoes and a simple filling dinner on a Sunday evening.

Lasagna By Another Name

shutterstock_farfalle_pasta

I like making Lasagna. It’s a great meal on a cold day, and the leftovers are always better than the first time around.

So today, the middle of April in Minnesota looks like Narnia outside. The snow is falling and everything is white…still. What better way to warm up the house and cheer up the crabby attitude then some lasagna hot dish. Yes, I said hot dish. Technically what I make is not lasagna. I’m sure your Italian grandmother would die at the sight of my version. So as to not offend her, I call mine lasagna hot dish. I do not use those big flat, sloppy, difficult to handle lasagna noodles. Instead I use farfalle; bow-tie noodles. A pound of bow-ties is perfect for a pan. Nothing else special about the lasagna hot dish.

Everyone knows how to make lasagna. Layers of sauce, pasta, meat and cheese baked until yummy. I use a jar of my favorite sauce with a can of diced tomatoes and a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste. Whirred in a blender to break down the tomatoes and mix in the tomato paste. Cheese, and lots of it! I use 6-8 cups of mozzarella. From what I see, the big debate is ricotta or cottage. Being as indecisive as I am, I use both. A 15 ounce container of each mixed together with some parsley added. It makes the cheesy layer creamy. For meat, some ground beef with some sweet Italian sausage mixed in is perfect. A couple of pounds of beef with a package of sausage. It gives the meat layer a little depth. The final layer is mozzarella cheese topped off with parmesan cheese.

There you have it. My secret recipe for lasagna hot dish. Can’t you just taste it?

I have to admit, I made this a couple of summers ago. I expanded the recipe a little to include two boxes of noodles. When I lifted the pan to put it in the oven…..whoa it was heavy. So I weighed it….18 pounds of dinner!! I fed at least 10 adults with a single pan. The left overs were forced on the young guys. Then we went racing!

Farm Fresh Eggs

farm fresh eggs

I have a friend that lives on a farm. I would call it a hobby farm, however the acreage compels me to call it a farm. She has chickens, and lots of them. The benefit of this is farm fresh eggs.

For a person that likes to cook, this is a benefit. Just to have a fried egg that is a couple of days old has no comparison to a store-bought egg. The taste is so real, a magnification of what an egg tastes like.

I am looking forward to cooking, and baking with these little gems. Thanks to my old friend….a friend I’ve known a long time.

Renewal, Revival, and Snow

I am renewing my blog.  There, I said it to the world.  I know I said this over a year ago, but this time it has been gnawing at me.

Spring is finally here after a looong winter, so it seems.  I felt the need to ask… snow again?  Keeping the cheerful outlook was difficult  that last month or so.  I’m usually the one telling people, “it is Minnesota, and this is normal.”  This winter I felt a little less cheerful.  I have a renewed respect (again) for the women that do it alone.  I was in “her shoes” when my husband was in the military.  You see, military wives are not issued dog tags, combat boots, or a duffel bag.  When her soldier has to go, she is left holding the household bag and she must handle it.  So this winter I was re-issued my household bag when my dear husband had to do some travelling.  I had to handle snow removal this go around.  I did have assistance from my dear son and his dear girlfriend.  It was a great bonding with a sweet girl that I am truly pleased to have around.  That’s a topic I’ll have to cover some other time.

As the snow melts and we see what has been hidden under the blanket of white, I can hardly wait to get the summer started.  The funny thing about Minnesotans.  We try to pack as much as we can into the summer months, then we hibernate in the winter.  By hibernate, I mean, either enjoy the cold stuff and do as much as we can while battling the white stuff or make plans for summer.  This winter I was the latter.  As I wait for the snow to go away, I have been planned the new vision for the interior of the camper.  I envision it to not look so much like a camper and more like a small apartment.  I think our first apartment was the same size as our camper, so this should be easy.  My big AHA moment was when I found a tip for new curtains for the front window of the camper.  The old curtains were looking a little old and well used; and to buy new curtains would put a very large dent in the budget.  I have purchased some fabric shower curtains.  My plan is to cut and hem them to fit the window, and use the pre made holes to fit the curtain hooks on the window rail.  Ingenious!  I can not wait do get this done!

Only one small problem…. snow.

 

A New Begining

I have not posted in a while.  Yes, I know it has been over a year.  I know that is more than “awhile”.   I have written many posts in my head while driving around, but I haven’t sat down to share them…… I will start again.  I want to start again.

HOWEVER, I will kindly say that criticizing me personally will be ignored.  I stopped blogging because I received a personal attack about what I have written. I didn’t receive it in written form. I received it in a phone call that was a rant. Not only was it a phone call, it was a phone call to my husband. If you wish to rant about what I write, please write it in this forum.  Rants on the phone will not be tolerated.

 

So, now that I have cleaned that slate, I will start all over and begin this whole process.

About Turn and Retreat

I used to help plan a women’s retreat.  We would spend the weekend at Cozy Bay Resort in Merrifield (hey Suzette).  We  had an absolute wonderful experience getting closer to each other and to God.  I tried to plan the activities that no matter where you were in your walk with Christ, there was as least one activity that touched your heart.  My friend, Sheila, was also there to bring great activities that would deepen you faith. 

The program was nixed a couple of years ago. 

I miss the fellowship with the other women.  I miss the ability to open my heart with women that understand what I am experiencing.  I miss watching the women whom you wouldn’t put together, become friends.   I miss the mentor relationship you develop when cut off from the rest of the world and you are with God and other women.

We started small.  The first year, we had about a handful of women.  Word got out, and the second year we doubled in size.  That year was such a success, that the third year was even better.  I don’t remember if we had a theme the second year, but I remember that the speaker rocked.  Holly Barry was her name, and she was great.  She really opened her heart and her faith story inspired the women.  The third year, we had a travel theme.  The journey was wonderful with the women.  We traveled to Israel with Julie, and our journey with God became stronger with the breakout sessions.  Our speaker with Bobbie Muncy, a friend of mine, who has had an incredible journey through life.   The ladies spiritual bags were full at the end of the weekend. 

I recently was driving and was pondering the retreats.  I even thought about how I could go ahead and have a retreat.  It’s all planned, just implementing it.   I don’t know if I would get enough interest.  I did see a friend the other day, and she said she missed them and would help if I ever planned one.   Hmmmmm….. the juices are flowing.  Any interest?

In The Beginning…

In the beginning …… of the year, we set our resolutions.  It is a time old tradition.  I could go into the history of setting resolutions, but it is just as easy for you to “Google it” than for me to cut and paste all the history.  Turning over the new calendar seems to inspire us to turn over a new “you”.    TV ads have been running to help us achieve those goals.  Ads to quit smoking, lose weight, get in shape all have been in high rotation. What resolution have you set for the new year?

The top 10 resolutions, according to “About.Com” are: 

1.  Spend more time with family & friends    

2.  Get Fit                                                                  

3.  Lose Weight

4.  Quit Smoking

5.  Enjoy Life More

6.  Quit Drinking

7.  Get Out of Debt

8.  Learn Something New

9.  Help Others

10.  Get Organized

I think I could adopt many of these goals – except the quit smoking thing; I really like my cigars.  (Just kidding.)  But in God’s plan for my life, I think these would all happen.  If, as Christians, we are to live more like Christ, would any of these be a natural by-product?  I would imagine so.  If we go into the new year with the mindset to honor God, and grow spiritually, you would study the Bible more.  By studying the Bible, you would also want to seek God’s will in your life. 

So, in setting my resolutions for the year, wouldn’t it make sense to:

1.  seek God –  Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always. Psalm 105:4

2.  ask for His wisdomIf any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.  James 1:5

3.  rely on Him – I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. 1 Timothy 1:12

4.  and always, always, give God the Glory     So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.   1 Corinthians 10:31 

and remember to – Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this:  He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.  Psalm 37:5-6