Summertime Dinners

Here’s how my summertime days go (yes, it’s summertime here!):

  • Knit or play on the computer waiting for it to be light enough to go let the chickens out.
  • While out with the chickens, I decide to walk through the garden . . just to see how much things grew during the night!  :)   I never intend to stay there long and I’m usually in my pajamas.
  • After a few hours, I realize . . I’m in my pajamas, Vince will be home for lunch soon and I rush into the house, take a shower and get lunch ready.
  • Vince leaves to go back to work and I do a few things in the house then soon end up back in the garden piddling.
  • After a few hours, I realize . . Vince is going to be home soon and dinner isn’t ready. I usually manage to find one or two more things to do in the garden and he drives up while I’m still out there working.
  • Vince comes out to the garden and I enlist him to help me do something.
  • After a couple of hours, Vince says “I’m hungry! What’s for dinner?”

At that point, my mind begins to scramble. I can open a jar of beef tips, cook a quick pot of rice in the pressure cooker. I can scrounge up some leftovers. I can say “would you mind having a sandwich?” Then we end up eating late and it’s bed time!

I don’t like for our dinners to be that way but there are only so many hours in my day and I’d rather be outside than doing anything else this time of year. Soon it will be so hot that I can go out at daylight but will be back in by 10:30 a.m. due to the heat. Then I can go back out after 6 p.m. and that will help with the lunch and dinner situations but for now, neither of us are skipping too many meals.

Yesterday, three different times I was out in the garden and thunder seemed to be getting close enough that I went back inside, though it never rained. I used the inside time to create a nice dinner for a change.

Dinner

Dinner

It was basically Pork Chops with Apples and Pancetta, though I used bacon instead of pancetta and since I was using sweet onions, I didn’t add any sugar. I didn’t have apple juice so I just left that off. It was delicious!

The pasta was Giada’s Baked Lemon Ziti, though I didn’t have ziti but had some similar pasta. Again, I used bacon instead of pancetta and halved this recipe and still got enough for the two of us to have for 3 meals.

We also had spinach salad which is probably the end of the spinach. It has all bolted and I’ll probably pull it up this weekend and plant okra in its place.

Both the recipes I used were great and I’ll make them again.

Harvey Wallbanger Cake

We aren’t big drinkers. Sitting out on the porch in the evenings, it just seems like we should enjoy an adult beverage but I always prefer Dr. Pepper. I tell my wine loving friends that if they come across a wine that tastes like Dr. Pepper, I’ll be happy. So far . . they have their wine and I have my Dr. Pepper.

Last week we were watching some show and they showed a Negroni being made. Hey . . that looked really good. It was red . . I was thinking cherry. We had the sweet vermouth, we had the gin but we didn’t have Compari so . . off to the local liquor store.

By the way . . I did not like that drink at all. Vince liked it but oh, my . . it was so strong for me.

But, when we walked into the liquor store, there was a bottle of Galliano and a memory came racing through my little memory bank. Back in the late 70’s, one of the cakes I made over and over again was a Harvey Wallbanger Cake and I remember it being moist and delicious. So, I said to Vince . . I want this bottle of Galliano. I have a really good cake recipe that uses Galliano.

He looked at the price and said NO WAY! We are NOT paying that much for a bottle of booze. What? What did you just say? I told him . . fine. I’ll come back and get it when you’re not with me so you could save me a trip but . . it doesn’t matter to me. He knew that I would do that so he ended up getting it. I knew the recipe only used a little Galliano but he stood there and compared prices and ended up putting back my small bottle and getting the largest bottle so I see lots of Harvey Wallbanger cakes in our future.  :)

Harvey Wallbanger Cake

Harvey Wallbanger Cake

The recipe that I had used many years ago used a storebought cake mix but I found this recipe that’s made from scratch and that’s the one I used. It was delicious.

Those decorative bundt pans are a little smaller than the traditional pans so I ended up with two mini cakes too.

Little Cakes

Little Cakes

The pan I used is the Chrysanthemum Bundt Pan, which seems to be no longer available. It was kinda funny because I was talking to Nicole last night and she was making a pound cake. I showed her the picture of my cake and she told me she didn’t have any of the pretty pans so she began looking at some and we found that the Chrysanthemum pan was nowhere to be found but they have this Blossom Pan which is similar. She also ordered the Fleur de lis pan and the Jubilee pan. Chad Loves the fleur de lis. I also have the Jubilee pan but haven’t used it yet. Maybe I’ll make another cake when the Harvey Wallbanger cake is gone! 

Throw It Together Quiche

My sweet Chad loves to cook (wonder where he acquired that hobby) and I’ve always envied his ability to open the pantry, not have a clue what he was going to make, pull out a few things and end up with a delicious meal. He went through a stage where he used too much garlic in everything he made. Our house would smell like garlic for days after Chad cooked . . whether he scrambled eggs, fried fish or made some other concoction. We finally convinced him that most folks like about 1/100th of the amount of garlic he likes and then he moved on to curry powder. Vince is not a fan of curry and when our house smelled like curry for days .. that was worse than the garlic. But, overall, Chad is an excellent cook and other than watching what he’s doing and making sure he isn’t serving some roadkill, I love eating at his house.

I always needed a recipe. I could start with a recipe, add or take away ingredients, but I wasn’t much on just pulling things from the pantry and making a decent meal but I’m finding more and more that I do that.

Last night, nothing I thought about fixing sounded good. My old standby is to have Vince grill steaks, I’ll bake potatoes and fix a salad so I got steaks out of the freezer. When he was home at lunch, he said “I’m going to cut the grass this evening” . . which meant he wasn’t going to want to mess with steaks on the grill so I took a couple of chicken breasts out of the freezer and was going to use a jar of sauce over them, and then serve that over leftover rice already cooked and in the fridge. While I was out working in the garden, I kept thinking  . . that doesn’t sound good either. I kept looking at the asparagus and spinach in the garden and decided I would make a quiche. 

Ingredients

Ingredients

Everything was here that I needed and I didn’t have to find a recipe! Those are bantam eggs so please don’t think I’m using 10 full size eggs!

Add the Asparagus

Add the Asparagus

We had asparagus for lunch today so there wasn’t a whole lot left for dinner but it was good!  The whole time I was rolling out that pie crust, I kept thinking (1) I’m so thankful to not have those tile countertops and (2) It won’t be long til I can make a fried pie using my home grown peaches!

Adding the Spinach

Adding the Spinach

Spinach from the garden, all chopped up! I added a bit of cajun seasoning on top of the spinach.

Ham on Top!

Ham on Top!

Ham leftover from Wednesday night’s dinner. We’ll be getting creative with that ham . . there’s a lot of that.

Yummy Homemade Bacon

Yummy Homemade Bacon

Next, I fried up some of my homemade bacon and crumbled that on top.

Onions!

Onions!

A couple of onions, carmelized, were added next.

Cheese

Cheese

Don’t laugh! I was going to put half cheddar and half Swiss cheese but there was no Swiss in the house and I was too tired to walk over to the shop so I used all cheddar.

Ready for the Oven

Ready for the Oven

The eggs were whipped up with some Half  & Half and seasoning and poured over everything. Baked and ready to serve!

Quiche (More or Less)

Quiche (More or Less)

It was delicious and there’s enough for at least two more meals! I’m thinking lunch today and maybe lunch on Sunday.

Dinner

Dinner

Don’t ask me why the color is off on that picture. I was taking them all about the same time of day, with the same camera, with the same lights on . . go figure. At least it tasted delicious . . even though the photo is a bit washed out.

We had a salad and a slice of cantaloupe and that was our dinner!