Thursday, October 23, 2008

What a week! So glad I planned ahead...

This has been a heck of week! I have my audit appointment this afternoon, which means they will go through every single paper, training agreement, work employment record, etc. to make sure my students really have jobs where they say they do and that employers are evaluating them. (I teach job skills classes in addition to the cooking classes) I am a little nervous for my appointment, but glad we get this "pre-audit" appointment so we have a chance to get extra things together if we're missing something.

On the planning front, I fortunately had this week pretty well planned ahead so we have actually been eating good dinners each night and I've been getting exercise in while getting other things done. On Tuesday I made some chicken tacos--they were so good--I got chipotle taco seasoning this time and that made a huge difference; we liked the flavor a whole lot more.
Last night I made beef stroganoff, another recipe that I hadn't made before because I've never been a big "meat and potatoes" eater, but in an effort to fill Norris up with good warm food, I tried this one out, and it was actually good. It was pretty easy to make too, and was a good meal that I could get prepped, then go to the gym, then come home and finish it off within about 25 minutes of getting home from the gym. I served it over some garlicky Yukon gold mashed potatoes (best potatoes for mashing!) and a salad. Tonight is my night to help at the cooking school, so I won't get home until around 9:30 or so, yuck. It's poultry night with chef Damien, so hopefully I'll learn something good and different!

Tomorrow night we are going to a coworker's for a bbq, then to the high school football game. I'm pretty excited because my school is playing the school I used to work at! Saturday we are headed to the KSU/OU game (hmm...might not be pretty!) and then to Joey's birthday party/costume party in Topeka! I'm not sure that we'll be dressing up though. Sunday, we are having brunch (that my mom and I are making) with my sister, her bf, his parents, and my parents. Big day! We are making those awesome homemade cinnamon rolls, fruit kebabs with fruit dip, and a farmer's casserole (eggs and meat type dish). It's going to be a full fun weekend!

I also already voted this week by mail. It was crazy to finally see the presidential candidates' names on a ballot--it seemed like this was never going to get here. Glad to have voted!

I am stressing a little bit just thinking about next week. We are going for a lot more rounds of cinnamon rolls as my CC class is taking preorders for cinnamon rolls for teachers to buy before our Wed. morning PLC meeting (starts at 7:10!) This means I will have to get here around 6:15 to get the rolls in the oven and iced before they pick them up! Then we will sell them to students in the hallway before school. THEN on Thursday, we are serving (so far) 46 people, mostly teachers a great lunch of paninis on homemade focaccia, barbecue kettle chips, and S'more snack cake. We will be prepping that next week. It will be a wild week and Friday is Halloween, so we'll be ready for a little bit of a relaxing day!

Anyway, enjoy your weekend! I am going to post the S'more snack cake recipe because it's pretty darn good! We had a practice meal that the kids served each other to make sure the recipes they picked were good. I already posted the focaccia, and you can buy the kettle chips at the store, obviously:) I am also posting the sweet and sour pork with vegetables recipe that we are finishing cooking and eating today in PC class. It is another yummy one! I will post the farmer's casserole recipe on Monday after we make it Sunday.

S’more Snack Cake

Prep Time: 25 minutes (ready in 2 hrs. 15 minutes)
Yield: 16 servings

1 c all-purpose flour
1 ½ c graham cracker crumbs (24 squares)
1 t baking powder
½ t baking soda
½ t salt
1 c firmly packed brown sugar
½ c shortening
3 eggs
1 c milk
1 c mini semisweet chocolate chips
1 (7-oz) jar (1 ½ c) marshmallow crème

1. Heat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour 13x9 inch pan. In medium bowl, combine flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, baking soda and salt; mix well.
2. In large bowl, combine brown sugar, shortening, and eggs; beat until well blended. Add dry ingredients and milk; beat at low speed until well blended. Beat 1 minute at medium speed. Stir in 2/3 c of the chocolate chips. Spoon and spread batter evenly into greased and floured pan.
3. Bake at 350 F for 25-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, in small saucepan, melt remaining 1/3 c chocolate chips over low heat. Spoon teaspoonfuls of marshmallow crème onto top of warm cake; carefully spread with knife dipped in hot water. Drizzle with melted chocolate; swirl chocolate through marshmallow crème to marble. Cool 1 hour or until completely cooled
Sweet and Sour Pork with Mixed Vegetables
1 small onion, quartered and layers separated
1 green pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
½ red pepper, cut into thin strips
½ c sliced bamboo shoots
½ c sliced water chestnuts
1 c pineapple chunks

Combine marinade ingredients; pour over pork and marinate meat 30 minutes or longer. (May be marinated overnight in the refrigerator if desired.)
Combine all sauce ingredients by first dissolving cornstarch in water. Then add remaining ingredients. Stir. Cook over medium heat until sauce comes to a boil and is thickened. (Or, microwave until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally). Set aside.
Put rice on to cook according to package directions.
Combine egg and cornstarch. Add pork cubes, drained, to the batter and stir to coat the pieces. (Note: Batter should be very thick; if not, sprinkle in a little more cornstarch).
Heat three inches of oil in deep fat fryer, deep skillet, or wok until 375 degrees F. Deep fry meat, a few pieces at a time, until golden and cooked on the interior. (You may need to cut into a sample piece to check to see if it is done). Transfer meat to paper towels to drain. Repeat process with remaining pork until it is all cooked. Drain all oil from wok except 2 T.
Stir fry vegetable mixture by first stir frying carrot for 1-2 minutes. Then add onion, green, and red peppers. Stir fry for 1-2 minutes until tender crisp. Add bamboo shoots and water chestnuts; stir fry a minute or two until very hot.
Add pineapple and sauce to the work. Toss to combine and to coat ingredients. Return cooked pork to the wok, stirring to coat with sauce. Serve with rice if desired.
Makes 4-6 servings.

Cook’s Tips: Start this recipe the day before if you like to simplify things. Marinate the pork and refrigerate it; it will hold nicely 24 hours. To speed things up a bit, use the microwave to cook the sauce. It may be refrigerated for 24 hours also. Often times I cook the vegetables in the microwave so they are ready to use the minute the meat is cooked.
All you need to do before serving is dip the drained pork pieces into the batter and fry them. Drain oil from work; stir in prepared sauce and microwave-cooked vegetables. Stir until all ingredients are heated and coated with sauce.

Recipe from: Contemporary Cooking, written by Bonnie A.