Sunday, June 20, 2021

Easy Summer Meal Planning


Meal planning for our seasonal cabin getaways can't get any easier.

Planning for three days, we buy three meats, one poultry, one beef and one seafood. This years' picks were a rotisserie chicken (the deli clerk called me when she took it out of the oven), an 8 ounce beef fillet, and a fresh cut of salmon. I froze these and pull just prior to packing into the cooler for a 3-6 hour trip. (It may take only 3 hours to reach the destination, yet sometimes we have to wait till the cabin is cleaned to check in). I add 6 eggs and a piece of Swiss cheese to the cooler under the ice blocks.

We take every vegetable we have (thanks to our local farmers market friends-we have an assortment) and we stop along the way to add a few more.

At our last stop about an hour from the park we get bread. This year we found a delicious multigrain boule and a 6 pack of fresh biscuits. I add a few vegetables I did not already have, a pack of frozen corn and a 1/2 gallon of milk.

Once the fire is lit, I cut and dice the vegetables. I'll pre-cook the longer cooking vegetables like potatoes, peas and carrots inside either on the propane stove or in the microwave. We fill 3/4ths of the paella cooking pan with vegetables and place the beef, salmon or chicken in the center of the pan. Grease the pan with a little olive oil, then add vegetables and meat at the same time. Occasional turning or stirring is all that's needed to cook the meal for a total of only 15 minutes.

Cooking over an open fire gives the food a unique smoky taste.


On the last day of our stay, we purchase take out desserts from the restaurant. Debbie Schoolcraft may just make the best graham cracker pie and blackberry cobbler in the state.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Blended Burger Meatballs

Combining mushrooms with beef creates juicy, flavorful recipes that are more sustainable with added nutrients. Now is the time of year when the local farmers offer mushrooms, onions and garlic in addition to the grass fed beef and cage free eggs. Some markets even have local cheese artisans.

Utilize every bit of the mushroom caps and stems by chopping washed mushrooms in the food processor. Saute these with vegetables in olive oil, then drain thoroughly before combining with raw beef and other vegetables.

The local farmer who grows the mushrooms tells me his are higher in vitamin D because they absorb the ultraviolet light from the sun. Mushrooms are also are good sources of potassium. The ricotta cheese in this recipe is a good source of calcium. The wheat germ adds Vitamin E and folate.

This recipe is adapted from Food Network magazine. For another flavorful twist, substitute Italian Sausage for one half the ground beef.

Mushroom Meatballs

(21 Meatballs-Serves 7)

Wash and grind mushrooms in food processor. 
Saute in olive oil until soft and water reduced. 
8 ounces mushrooms, caps and stems
1 tablespoon olive oil
Add onion and garlic. Saute 2-3 minutes more.
2 tablespoon spring onion, chopped
2 teaspoon spring garlic, chopped
Drain on a clean cloth. Squeeze excess moisture out of vegetables.
In mixing bowl, combine cooked vegetables with meat, egg, cheese, wheat germ and seasonings.
1 pound ground beef
1 egg
1/2 cup ricotta cheese, part skim
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup parmigiana cheese, grated
2 tablespoon fresh parsley, snipped
1 teaspoon oregano
Portion meatballs with a 2 tablespoon scoop onto parchment paper lined baking sheet.
Bake at 400 F for 12 minutes. Add to sauce and serve when interior of meatballs is 160F.
1 serving of these meatballs has 2 ounces of meat, 1 ounce of mushrooms and 1/2 ounce of cheese. 

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Put an Egg on it

Eggs are economical, an excellent source of nutrients and easy to prepare. There's no need to wait for National Egg Day (June 3rd) to enjoy them.

At 25 cents an egg, I get essential nutrients for brain and memory development and complete protein to support bones and muscles. The American Heart Association now says eggs can be part of a healthy diet, up to 2 a day for older adults.

Tonight I'll meet our area farmer to buy cage free eggs from free range chickens. The yolks are a deep yellow. I store them in the carton in the refrigerator as the shells can absorb odors from other foods.

Eggs are fine alone, with a little pepper.  Many eat eggs with sausage or bacon. Eggs also pair well with asparagus, mushrooms, potatoes and onions.

I say "put an egg on it" to many foods. My picture above is an egg with bean salsa over a corn waffle. Here are meals with eggs

  • Over noodles

  • On a grain bowl

  • With baked beans and Canadian Bacon

  • Over a salad

  • In potatoes

  • Baked with Ratatouille

  • Baked in a Bread Roll 

    I'll conclude with a couple tips for recipe development, the first I used for many years as  Retail Manager for a large cafeteria. 
    10 eggs per pint per pound
    1 whole egg = 2 egg whites