It’s been another week of high winds and daily watering. One lonely green bean is growing, so I’m going to try soaking the seeds before putting them in the ground. I’ll let you know how that works out.
Not a single carrot sprout yet, so I’m going to replant using a different seed pack. Perhaps I bought a bad bag of seed? Other than that, not much happening, watching and waiting.
I love scalloped potatoes, but get inpatient waiting for them to bake. I came up with an easy way to make scalloped potatoes in my electric skillet with about half the usual cooking time.
2 lbs. potatoes (about 6)
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
Salt and pepper for seasoning
2 ½ cups milk
½ cup finely chopped onion, optional
1 cup cooked ham, cubed or
1 ea. 5 oz. can smoked ham
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
Peel potatoes and slice thinly. [I put the peelings in the composter.] Add a little oil to the electric skillet. Set on lowest setting, about 150°.
Add potatoes and onions to skillet. Turn occasionally as you’re preparing the white sauce. This speeds up the cooking process as the potatoes are about half done by the time the sauce is ready.
Melt butter in 2 qt. saucepan over low heat. Blend in flour using a whisk.
Continue cooking over low heat, stirring until mixture is smooth and bubbly. Add milk. Increase heat to medium high. Stir constantly until mixture begins to boil. Boil and stir 1 minute. Remove from heat.
Add ham to skillet. [If you’re using canned ham, use two forks to shred and pull it apart in a small bowl before adding to skillet.] Pour sauce over potatoes, onions and ham. Mix well. Put lid on skillet and check every 10 minutes to stir and turn the potatoes. Cooks in 30 – 40 minutes.
When potatoes reach the desired doneness, turn off the electric skillet. Add cheddar cheese and put the lid back on (to speed up melting of cheese.)
The cheddar melts in 3 – 5 minutes.
*A note about electric skillets.
Recently, I replaced my old faithful skillet with one of those where the cooking pan lifts off from the heating base. It was a little more expensive than the other models, but I thought the removable base was worth the added expense. Wrong. It lasted exactly one use of frying chicken at 350°, then warped.
So buyer beware. You do get what you pay for. The more expensive skillets with removable bases may not warp, but my relatively inexpensive (50.00-60.00) did.
What a better use of yesterday’s leftover roast beef and gravy than a hot roast beef sandwich? Growing up, I ate a lot of these. They were a quick and easy supper before the days of microwaves. Most every local café, served hot roast beef sandwiches with a big dollop of mashed potatoes. I haven’t seen a hot roast beef sandwich on a menu in years. If they’re out there, I guess I haven’t been going to the right restaurants.
The ingredients are pretty straightforward – leftover roast beef, leftover gravy and bread. I prefer reheating gravy and meat the old school way on top of the stove vs. using the microwave.
Reheat gravy in saucepan. Add water as necessary and stir occasionally while reheating over medium heat. Put a small amount of beef broth or water in a small frying pan. Add roast beef. Cover and let warm up over medium heat.
In a few minutes when everything is heated through, pile roast beef on a slice of bread. Put another slice on top and smother with gravy.
This is my favorite way to prepare a beef roast. The meat is tender. The carrots have a beefy flavor and the broth makes the best tasting gravy. It seems like most supermarket meats are just packed with water anymore, so I only use a little water to prevent scorching at the beginning. Since I’m using condensed soup, I don’t add any salt to the roast.
Whenever using a crockpot, remember vegetables first, meat on top.
3 – 4 lb. beef roast
1 lb. baby carrots
¼ cup chopped onions
2 – 3 tablespoons minced garlic
1 can beefy mushroom condensed soup
¼ cup water
½ cup cold water
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ teaspoon Kitchen Bouquet sauce
2 cups beef broth (from crockpot)
If so desired, quartered potatoes can be added around the roast. Turn crockpot on low and let cook for 7 to 10 hours. If you’re around the house, turn the meat over about half way through the cooking time.
When done, transfer roast and carrots to shallow bowl or plate. Cover with aluminum foil to keep warm while you prepare gravy.
Measure 2 cups of broth and put in a 2 qt. sauce pan. If you don’t have quite enough broth, add water to make 2 cups. [I don’t strain the broth since the onions and mushroom bits add a lot of flavor to the gravy.] Bring the broth to a good rolling boil. While the broth is heating, combine ½ cup water with the cornstarch and flour in a pint sized canning jar. [Put the water in first, then the cornstarch and flour.] Shake to mix well until no lumps remain. [I use a combination of cornstarch and flour when I make this type of gravy.]
Stirring constantly, slowly add the flour mixture to the boiling broth. Continue stirring as the gravy thickens. Simmer for 5 minutes or so to allow time for the flour to cook. Stir in Kitchen Bouquet and gravy’s done!
If you have any leftovers, save them for tomorrow’s hot roast beef sandwiches!
This is my latest experiment. I’ve seen articles about re-growing various vegetables, so I thought I’d give celery a try. I’ll update this as the weeks pass. It’ll be interesting to see if it actually works or not. I began with cutting about 1″ from the bottom of a celery bunch. I ran water over it and placed in a bowl with about ½” of water. I change the water daily, and rinse from the top down to get water between the stalk bases. The bowl rests on the windowsill of an East window.