Sunday, April 25, 2010
ALL TOGETHER NOW - LET’S DO THE HOKEY-POKEY!
Nowadays, one has to be a contortionist to survive.
Constantly we’re told we have to “buckle up”; “knuckle down”; “tighten your belt”; “put on the brakes”; ”bounce right back”; “toe the line”; “keep your head down”; (or “pull it in”), “brace yourself”; “bite the bullet”; “keep your eye on the ball”; “keep your chin up”; “keep your nose to the grindstone”; “pull your socks up”; “put your best foot forward” (I don’t know which is my best foot – they both look much the same to me and appear to do similar jobs); “broaden your horizons”; “keep your head above water”; “sink or swim”; “take a deep breath; “exhale” (I wish they’d make up their minds!); “don’t jump into the deep end”; “think twice before you leap”.
Personally, I prefer to think more than twice before taking a leap!
If we attempted to do all the above tasks, we’d have no time to spare, not to mention the total confusion trying to follow so many commands! Perhaps it’d be better to go out on a limb and play it by ear! Or it would be best to twiddle our thumbs to decide if it’s thumbs up or thumbs down while taking one step forward and ten back; all the time rolling our eyes, raising our eyebrows and shrugging! Of course, we could spin in one spot and go nowhere!
It’s important to remember, however; if you can’t jump that pesky hurdle, go around it, or dig a hole and crawl under it! Whew! Now we need a nap, but before you go, here are some budget-friendly ideas to chew on.
Cajun Beans: Cut 2 bacon rashers into ½-inch pieces; cook until brown; drain: set aside. To pan, add 1 chopped onion, 2 chopped celery stalks, 1 chopped capsicum, 1 zucchini, diced, 2 chopped garlic cloves, 2tsps Cajun seasoning, pinch of cumin, 1/2tsp thyme; season. Cook 10-12mins, stirring occasionally. Add 2 cans diced tomatoes, undrained; cook 10mins. Stir in 2-1/2c cooked kidney beans and 1-1/2c of bean cooking water (or canned beans) and the bacon. Cook 3-5mins. Serve over brown rice.
Macaroni Tuna-Cheese: Cook 250g macaroni until tender, drain; rinse. Melt 4tbls butter in saucepan; add 2 chopped onions and 1 small chopped capsicum; sauté over low heat 3-4mins, until tender. Add 2tbls plain flour, salt and pepper; cook, stirring, until smooth and bubbly. Add 1c milk and 1 can of mushroom soup; stir over low heat until smooth and thickened. Add cooked drained macaroni, 250g canned tuna, drained, 1/2c thawed frozen peas and 1/2c grated cheese to sauce mixture, stirring constantly. Pour the mixture into buttered casserole; top with grated cheese and some buttered, soft bread crumbs; bake at 175C about 40mins.
Chicken in Puff Pastry: Cook 4 bacon rashers until crisp; drain; crumble; set aside. Drain pan; don’t wipe out. Add 1tbl olive oil to pan; add 3 boneless, cubed chicken thighs and 1/2c chopped onion. Cook together until chicken is no longer pink. Remove with slotted spoon to a bowl. Add 125g softened cream cheese and bacon to chicken; mix well; add some chopped fresh herbs. Cut a sheet of thawed puff pastry into 4x6-inch squares. Divide chicken between squares; fold in half. Seal edges; press with fork. Place on baking tray; brush with beaten egg. Bake in preheated 200C oven 20-25mins.
French Onion Pork: Slash edges of 4 pork loin chops. In pan fry 2 chopped bacon rashers until crisp; drain. Add a little oil to pan brown chops; transfer to plate. To pan, add 2 sliced onions, 1tspn Italian herbs; season. Cook 10mins. Sprinkle 1tbl plain flour into pan, cook, stirring 1min. Add 3/4c chicken stock; bring to boil, stirring and scraping. Return bacon, chops and juices to pan, turn chops to coat. Cover, reduce heat; simmer until cooked. Stir in 1tsp cider vinegar.
Seven-Layer Casserole: Layer thinly-sliced potatoes, carrots and onions in buttered casserole. Sprinkle 1/2c uncooked long-grain rice over vegetables. Add 2 undrained cans of peas; arrange 500g pork sausages over peas. Dilute 1 can tomato soup with water; pour over sausage; season. Cover; cook in 175C oven, 1 hour – then uncovered a further hour.