Cooking on the weekend

What can I say about weekends that has not been said before? Probably nothing. We all love them. Nevertheless, they are beautiful even when the weather is far from lovely outside our windows. (Outside, Kansas is currently a grey wind tunnel. Oh February).

First of all, you should know that I am a Yoder. Okay, yeah that's my last name, but what I am when I say that specifically is that people in my family, particularly my Yoder side, do not know how to relax. It's all that hardworking Amish dairy farmer blood, I guess. My grandpa never really retired from his sharpening business (which he started when he retired). My Dad seems to be happiest when he has a list of things to accomplish. Sometimes we have a hard time relaxing. (Okay, most of the time). I should also say that part of this extreme clean conscious also comes from my mom's side of the family. My Grandma Flo is a champion of the world, thus my mother kept our house basically spotless growing up.  So, on the weekends, I sometimes forget to sit down. Blame on the relatives, I guess, but I need to clean  the bathroom every Friday.

Despite this crazy "Yoder-ness" part of me, I did find some ways to relax this week (thanks mostly to Levent)... and cook, a whole lot.

Wow I was in the kitchen a lot this weekend.

This is quite the accomplishment because I often don't feel like cooking on the weekends. (Translation: I don't feel like washing the dishes ever). However, I was extremely determined to have a lot of leftover for the upcoming week. My lunches last week were so depressing, which is an awful thing to have to not look forward to during the day.

On Thursday, I got off a little early from work so I made No Pain Lo Mein. Seriously. That's what it is called. It's so simple, and there is a good chance you already have the ingredients in your kitchen.

No Pain Lo Mein*

1 lb. spaghetti, cooked until al dente
1/2 lb. boneless pork or chicken breasts, cut into very thin strips (Or mushrooms to make it vegetarian)
2 T (twice around the pan) toasted sesame oil (could probably just use veggie oil, but I recommend using the sesame oil. It gives the dish a nice depth of flavor).
3 T veggie oil
A couple shakes of red pepper flakes
1/4 lb. snow peas
1 small onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
3 green onions, thinly sliced on an angle
2 T soy sauce
salt to taste.

While pasta is cooking, brown meat (or sauté mushrooms) over high heat in 1 T sesame oil. Remove from pan.

Add veggie oil an red pepper flakes. Stir-fry snow peas, onions and bean sprouts for 1 minute. Remove from pot with a slotted spoon and to meat.

Dump drained, cooled pasta into wok. Add green onions and half of your cooked meat and veggies. Toss and ry the mixture until noodles and veggies are combined. Drizzle with a couple T of soy sauce and 1 T sesame oil. Combine well. Sprinkle with salt, to taste. Dump into serving dish and top with remaining meat and veggies.

Source: Rachael Ray's 30 Minute Meals

*Okay folks, so I did not stick to this exact recipe. For one thing, I opted for the mushroom option. Also, I always use what veggies I have in my fridge/freezer. So this time I made it with peas, cabbage and onions. Also, I don't have a wok, just a big old skillet will do. But, since you change this recipe up to make it how you like it, I thought I would keep the original recipe in tack so you can have complete control over it.

Friday is my day to cook. (Jasmine has Monday and Annali has Wednesday). So I finally used some of the pumpkin I had frozen to make this black bean pumpkin chili. But the exciting thing here was the chili and cheese biscuits I made to go with it. Thanks Joy the Baker. (I also listened to her podcast while making these. Can I be more of a super fan)?

Chili Cheddar Biscuits

3 cups flour
1 T sugar
4 1/2 t baking powder
3/4 t cream of tarter
3/4 t salt
3/4 c cold buttermilk
1 egg
3/4 c cheddar cheese, shredded
1 sm can of diced green chilies
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
coarse sea salt for topping, optional

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, cream of tarter, and salt.

In a small bowl, whisk together milk and egg.

Add butter to the flour mixture. With your fingers or a food processor, work butter into flour, breaking the cubes into smaller bits. Once the butter is well incorporated into the flour mixture, the flour will resemble coarse meal. Some chunks will be the size of small pebbles, others will be the size of oat flakes.

Toss the cheese and chilies into the flour mix. Create a small well in the center of flour mix and add the wet ingredients all at once. Toss together using a fork making sure all the flour bits are moistened.

Dump the biscuit dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead it until is firm enough to handle. Roll out into a 1 1/2 inch circle.

Cut biscuits into rounds. Place biscuits on greased baking sheets and bake at 425 for 12-15 minutes or until golden.

Adapted from Joy the Baker Cookbook

The original recipe called for Jalapeños and chives instead of green chilies. However, I have no spice tolerance so I switched it to make it not as hot. I also never have chives sitting around. 

On Saturday morning, Leah and I held another brunch, but this time it was Valentine's theme.

We made a sausage, grits, cornmeal, egg casserole (trying to channel the south there) and these cherry turnovers.

The cherry turnovers are easy-peasy. I had pie crust in the freezer (from October... oops) and Leah and Jeron had this can of cherry pie filling the Baker's have had since they've been married. Time to use it.

Cherry Turnovers:

pie crust dough
1 can cherry pie filling

Roll out pie down. Divide dough into equal sections and spoon a few cherries onto one side of each of the sections. Sandwich the filling with the other half. Using a fork, seal the ends. Brush with an egg wash, if desired. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

When cooled, drizzle with frosting. (The frosting I use is just a splash of milk and enough powder sugar  to get the consistency I want. Sorry, these directions are terribly vague).


Sausage grits cornmeal egg casserole

3 cups water
1 cup instant grits
1/4 t salt
1 stick butter
1 lb. sausage, browned
4 eggs
1 cup milk
1 box Jiffy cornbread mix
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Bring water to boil. Add grits, salt and butter and cook for 5 minutes or until the grits are thick and the butter is melted, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, brown sausage. Drain grease and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together milk and eggs. Add cooked grits and sausage. Add cornbread mix and cheese. Stir until well combined.

Poor into greased 9x13 pan and bake at 325 for 30 minutes.


Yep. It's been a pretty delicious weekend. My lunches this week are sure to be full of great things.