Work Family: Pasta Maker & Sauce

It has been 13 years since I started working at the Harrahs casino with my work family and over the years we have been through everything, from birthdays, weddings, deaths in the families and even babies being born. Of course as everyone knows sometimes you see your work family more than you see your own family so you can’t help but love them or yeah even hate em sometimes, but that’s family for you.

So it had to be at the start of my time at Harrahs that my work daughter gave me the best birthday present ever. I had been talking about wanting to make homemade pasta ever since the little ole Italian grandmother of the bunch had given me her recipe for homemade pasta sauce, which by the way she made me promise to never give it out to anyone (so hush, I made some modifications and now it’s my sauce). So on my birthday she hands me a pasta maker and I was thrilled to say the least, but alas I never got around to making pasta that year. I didn’t get around to making pasta at all through an ankle surgery, and two moves, until now when this pandemic had us in lock-down.

Now after 13 years, yes I pulled out that pasta maker and I learned not only how to make fresh pasta, which by the way is the most amazing thing I’ve ever tasted. After figuring out how to get the contraption to actually stay on the counter and finding the perfect recipe, which I’m not even going to copy, because there are so many recipes out there it was crazy but after doing a huge search I found one at “The Spruce Eats” which was perfect for me cause it made enough for 2 and hey it’s only me.

Next up was now taking that mixture of ingredients that this grandma gave me, that didn’t even have any sort of measurements for me to use….what the heck…right! So what’s the internet for, I started doing some research just to at least get some measurements or something to help me figure out how much of everything I should use. Just like pasta recipes you got a million sauce recipes, all kinds of sauce recipes, but at least I had a starting point on how much of anything I should use. After all that I was ready to make my own tomato sauce. Continue reading

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Why Do I Cook?

Cooking is life for me, that’s why I cook (#wecook). I’ve loved cooking since I was  little girl and my parents got me an Easy Bake Oven for my birthday one year and my dad had cakes and cookies everyday when he came home from work. Growing up I would cook the recipes out of my “Seventeen” magazine and I remember the first one I cooked was for an orange chicken dinner and ok my first try not great, but my dad ate everything I ever made.

As I got older and started working I wanted to go into the food service industry and I wanted to be a chef, in fact after meeting so many chefs during my early college years I wanted to be just like them a superstar. The one thing those chef’s didn’t tell me was the people that would dislike the food or complain or some other such nonsense and me I  guess I was too thin skinned to be a chef so I stopped wanting to be a chef, but I still loved cooking and that’s why I’m here now.

I cook because it’s an art form for me, I’ll look through my cabinets and throw something together and for the most part it all turns out good and yes I will be sharing those on here. It got to the point were my daughter created a notebook for me to write down all my recipes to pass on to her. I had a tendency to not really write anything down…yeah I know.

 

It’s so funny but now that my kids are all grown-up they all love to cook also, they have their own different styles but its an art form for them and a way to express themselves and I couldn’t be prouder of all of them.

3 Chefs to be

Oldest, youngest, middle

So that’s a little bit about why I cook, pleasure; art; and to feed the people I love.

The other week I posted about helping out our local restaurants and of course I started utilizing the weekly grocery service offered by Happy Gillis and I was thrilled with my bag so much that I’ve got my mom and sister turned on to it and I just ordered the Mother’s day meal for my mom.

With all the fresh veggies that I got in my bag I was wondering what should I make with the “yukon gold potato’s, fresh spinach, tri-colored carrots and the fresh rosemary. Oh and don’t let me forget about the awesome pound of bacon I ordered also. So what did I make I did a “Garden Bag Chuck Roast” with sautéed Spinach on the side. Next time I’m going to save a couple of more strips of the bacon to really cover the roast up. All in all I will be making this one again.

 

Garden Bag Pot Roast

Ingredients:
Small Chuck Roast
3-4 slices of thick cut bacon
5 Yukon gold potatoes
6 peeled Tri-colored carrots
Fresh Rosemary sprigs
1 cup of Red wine (I used a merlot)
Garlic powder
Salt
Pepper

Directions:
1. Rinse roast off, pat dry and season with salt, pepper and garlic
   rubbed in. Wrap bacon strips around roast and can use toothpicks
   or the rosemary stalks. In heavy skillet brown bacon wrapped roast.
   Remove from pan an place to the side.

2. In separate bowl toss quartered potatoes and whole baby carrots
   with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder and chopped fresh
   rosemary. Toss until well coated.

3. Place a layer of the potatoes and carrots on the bottom of the
   skillet, place roast on top and place the remaining potatoes and 
   carrots on the sides. Pour a glass of wine over everything.
   
4. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 2 to 2 1/2 hours or
   until beef and vegetables are tender.
Sautéed Spinach 

Ingredients:
1 Bag of fresh Spinach
1/2 yellow onion sliced
Chopped bacon, 1 slice

Directions:
1. Place chopped bacon in skillet cook till crisp, add onions
   sauté for about 4 minutes add spinach and cook down.

So why do you guys out there cook? I would love to know what you’ve been cooking or your favorite places to eat.

Until next time, peace and all that jazz.

 

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COVID-19 and Restaurants

This has been the craziest year I have ever seen in Kansas City (MO), in fact in my whole life I have never seen anything like this before. Businesses closing down even my own job closed down (casino), and of course the biggest shut down’s have been our favorite local restaurants who have had to revamp how they do business but yet a few will close because they will be unable to push through this.

That’s why I was really heartbroken when one of my favorite places closed its door over the past week. Both myself and the Mister really enjoyed Beignet owned by Chef/Owner Bryan Merker, who also had owned our favorite creole place down in the crossroads called Nica’s. This is where we would go at least once a week, celebrated our anniversary and tried turducken for the very first time (yeah I miss that place). But when Beignet’s opened in the City market we were like woohoo, we can still get some great creole dishes and for seven years Chef Bryan delivered.

 

I hate I never got a chance to go as often as I liked but whenever I did go and Chef was around he always remembered me and would give me a hug in greeting. I wish that I had known and tried to help out in someway.

Beignet’s may be gone but they will never be forgotten and because so many of our local places are struggling I’ve created a list not only for myself but for you guys to help also.

And as this sign said…”We’re all in this together”

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How to Support Local Restaurants

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Online Happy Hours & Yelp Event’s

Over the weekend something cool happened, Friday co-workers that I haven’t seen in almost a month we all got together for a “Zoom” online happy hour complete with our favorite drinks and appetizer’s. Then on Saturday it was an online Yelp event that took place all over the USA to help promote local restaurants called Yelps Big Night In.

It was so much fun Friday to see my favorite coworkers on Zoom and I shared with them my Oven Fried Buffalo Thighs and a daiquiri from the KC Daiquiri Shop 

Then Saturday it was Yelp’s big event and it was wonderful to see the response right here in Kansas City for our favorite local restaurants. We decided to go with Jazz A Louisiana Kitchen and like most of the area restaurants they had a family pack special available. We ordered the family Crawfish Fettuccine Dinner, Voodoo Wings, Red Beans and Rice and their Cajun Fried Shrimp.

This was our first time trying the crawfish fettuccine and I hate I didn’t get a better picture because it was off the chain good, nice and spicy and still hot from the drive over and as always everything was mouthwatering.

This was the two best ideas since this stay at home order went into effect, it was a great way to see my work family and a way to help out our favorite local restaurants during this crazy time in our lives. So hook up with your friends and even family on Zoom and of course help support your favorite restaurant. Until next time, have an awesome week. 

Oven Fried Buffalo Chicken Thighs

Ingredients:

4 Bone-in, Skin-on Chicken Thighs
1 Tbsp Baking Powder
2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Cajun Blackened Seasoning
1 tsp Black Pepper
Your favorite Buffalo Wing Sauce

Directions:

Dry thighs really well, then toss in seasoning and baking powder,
rub in for even coverage.

Lay chicken thighs on cooking wire rack, (coat rack with PAM or oil
so it won’t stick.

Place rack on large baking sheet lined with aluminum foil makes
clean-up easier.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees

Place chicken on lower-middle rack and bake for 30 minutes. Move to
upper-middle rack, increase temperature to 425 and roast till brown
and crispy, 40-50 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking.

Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes.

Transfer chicken to bowl and toss in wing sauce.


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Restart!

Hey everyone, I know it’s been a long time so I’m just blowing off the dust and wiping out the cobwebs to get back in the groove of things. With all the downtime I’ve got with this pandemic it’s time for me to get back up and running with a few changes to come.

I’m looking to still work on my collection of recipes from my mom and the ones I’ve created over the years. Some things that I plan on changing will be the look and a new “tagline” working on ideas for that now. I also want to focus on my KC background.

Kansas City is definitely more than just a cowtown and at one time we were known as Paris Of The Plains. I have two awesome cookbooks of some of KC’s greatest restaurants, some of them long gone and some which are still around.KC cookbooks

I’ve got plans to cook through these two cookbooks and hopefully talking with the places that are still around when this crisis is all over.

A few other things I’ve got planed is I finally pulled out that pasta maker I’ve had for over 10 years, along with  making a tomato sauce that’s about that old, that I got from an old co-worker. Plus I’m thinking about canning since yep I’ve got the equipment for that just sitting in my closet.

This is going to become my new norm and I plan on making this my mission to cook my favorite family recipes and of course cooking and eating my way through Kansas City.

I hope you guys join me in this delightful little trip, see you soon!

 

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