The Quest Continues - Week 2 - Penny Lane Blog at - 267791

Penny Lane

The Quest Continues - Week 2 
Feb. 17, 2012 1:58 pm 
Updated: Feb. 19, 2012 7:45 am
That's one stretched chicken! 
Photo courtesy of  'Witchy Woman'

With the exception of the great sausage debacle (which will be explained later) I managed to avoid the chain grocery stores again this week. Amazingly, the freezer is not empty, although the pantry is looking a little lean. What I have discovered is that there are somethings that make me a little nervous. Early in the week I thought I was almost out of yeast - until I dug a little deeper into the freezer, unearthing a whole unopened block of yeast. All was right with the world until I realized that I was down to my last 2 onions. Oh, be still my heart!

So began the list for Cardenas where I get my produce. 
$21.83 later I was set for the week.
Red, green & yellow bell peppers, green onions, mushrooms, broccoli, cilantro, tomatoes, limes, avocados, bananas, red & white potatoes, lettuce, apples, zucchini, jicama, celery, ONIONS - both red and white, garlic, cabbage & green beans.

With those purchases the quest for recipes was on.

The criteria for this week remained the same:
1) The recipe must need a picture.
2) It must sound like something we would enjoy.
3) I must have all the essential ingredients on hand.

I wish I could say that my recipe selections for this week were spot on - but that is not the case. Sunday brought on two recipes that were so-so, what I call calorie wasters.

With all the cream cheese in these I was hoping they would be very tasty.  They were very plain - the lemon was good but the little pancakes on their own weren't great.

Forgive me, but FRIED anything should be great - these missed the mark in the seasoning department.

No Baking Papa requested Italian for Valentines day. I found a recipe for lasagna that sounded like it would fit the bill. I like to make my sauce for lasagna a day or two ahead to let the flavors develop - so I set to work. 
The recipe called for ground beef and ground pork OR Italian sausage. I had the ground beef but the sausage / pork was absent. 
I love this man I married, so I broke my promise and headed to Albertson's where I snagged a package of ground pork and headed home. 
Now, keep in mind - I was sleep deprived and operating on 'empty'. (That is my excuse and I am sticking to it.) I arrived home and realized I had purchased breakfast sausage. 
Hmmmm......what to do?  Back to the store, snagged a package of Italian sausage - on sale, only to arrive home and discover I had purchased BRATS! 
At this point I threw in the towel. I tossed a couple of potatoes & a chicken in the oven to roast and called it quits! 
My friends on the Buzz tried to talk me through turning my errant purchases into a decent Italian meal but I didn't trust myself in the kitchen and decided to tackle this project after a good nights sleep.

The following day, in order to avoid showing my face in the store for yet another package of sausage I traded my daughter a package of Brats for a package of Italian sausage. Reviewing the recipe again I decided that the selected recipe wasn't great enough for Valentines day after all. Change of plans.

I ended up making Bon Apetite's recipe for meat sauce.

I doubled the recipe and I am glad I did. No Baking Papa was a happy man.  We had Baked Ziti, Spaghetti and still had some sauce for the freezer.  I have been instructed to not give away that sauce in the freezer. He is hoping for a repeat performance.  

The Holiday Green Beans were pretty good. I cut the sauce in half and it was still to much for 2 lbs of green beans.  NB Papa really liked the addition of peanuts.  The sauce was actually pretty good on broccoli the next day.

I still have a lot of chicken breasts in the  freezer and I have had my eye on this recipe for a while.  Again, I cut the sauce for this in half and it was still way too much sauce.  It is really sweet but has great potential.  I am going to play with this a lot.  I served this with the green beans and some rice.

I have my own version of Taco Soup but decided to give this one a try.  It is more like a Chili than a soup and although there is nothing really wrong with that, it isn't what we like.  After taking the picture, tasting and reviewing the recipe I set to work doctoring it up.  I added 2 quarts of chicken broth, zucchini, carrots, cilantro - a bunch more seasonings and ended up with a really good pot of soup.

At this point, NB Papa was asking when I was going to move onto desserts.  In combing through the pantry I unearthed my hoard of pumpkin.  While there might have been a threat of the a pumpkin shortage last year - there is no shortage of pumpkin in my pantry.  This will not be the last of the pumpkin recipes. 

The filling on this is really bland with no spices and it is a very soft filling.  Not custard like at all.  The topping was very good when first baked but the filling was sloppy - chilled over night and the filling set up better but then the topping wasn't crunchy any more.

Oh well, you can't win them all.  

I have made a few other things, that I won't bore you with.  This week concluded with me adding more to my freezer than I used from it.  But we now have Meat Sauce, Taco Soup and some breakfast sausage to look forward to.
Feb. 17, 2012 2:00 pm
Sorry folks! I really do NOT understand the changing fonts! Try as I might - I can't fix it. Sorry.
Feb. 17, 2012 2:03 pm
What!? Baking Nana out of yeast. Great blog and awesome photos. You've outdone yourself again.
Feb. 17, 2012 2:16 pm
Oh, bd.weld I almost had a heart attack! No yeast is as bad as no flour! Thanks for stopping in.
Feb. 17, 2012 2:57 pm
You inspired me to shop my pantry and freezer. I was not quite as good as you. Last week $50 at the grocery store (@1/3 of my usual, so better) and this week $30. Thank you!
Feb. 17, 2012 3:16 pm
You are welcome Allie! It is amazing to me how much I have left to use. Mind you - I am virtually out of beef with the exception of some really quality cuts - I don't want to sacrifice them to an unknown recipe. Thanks for stopping in, now go check out your freezer!
Feb. 17, 2012 3:21 pm
Check your pocketbook - I know there were a few jars of yeast in there! I get nervous if I'm running low on yeast, onions, and milk everything else I can remain calm. I too am shopping my freezer. My goal is to actually empty it of all the meat and most of the left over meals I have frozen. I found that planning to shop every 2 weeks instead of weekly is a huge help. I still buy fresh fruit and vegetables and milk as needed, but I do it at the farmers market or greengrocer, avoiding the supermarket.
Feb. 17, 2012 3:37 pm
BSM - I was ready to start checking my purses for spare jars of yeast! The lack of onions was very disturbing as well and jump started me to make a list for produce which I don't mind buying weekly. As for milk, NB Papa and I don't use that much milk but the kids can power it down. My daughter brings me 2 gallons of milk every week along with oranges & lemons from her trees. I trade bread for eggs with two different friends. I just realized though that I am running low on butter.....oh dear! My list of staples that need to be re-stocked is growing. Moderation is my new mantra.
Feb. 17, 2012 3:48 pm
Bummer about the pancakes, they sounded sooo good. I guess you can say they fell a little flat! yuk yuk yuk!
Feb. 17, 2012 4:19 pm
ruck ruck ruck.....lissa! Think about this, pan fried cream cheese in butter with lemon? Sigh.... it sounded so good! Oh well.... such is life.
Feb. 17, 2012 4:33 pm
We were surprised to discover that our only meats were a large pork loin roast and several chicken breasts. The rest of the freezer contents are broths, juices, pie fillings and fruits. Most of that will be used up before summer sheds its bounty for us. ... Also, your Thai Pineapple Fried Rice is very much a go to recipe around here. Our granddaughters ask (demand?) for it each time they visit. My wife will ask for it often, too.
Feb. 17, 2012 5:30 pm
Hi there Mike! I am so glad your family likes the Thai Fried Rice. It is one of our favorites. I think it is time for me to get back into the Asian flair. I am using freezer broth faster than I am making it - I found some fresh / frozen peaches for pie in the freezer too. I better get to using those up - a new stock load will be arriving soon! :) Those large hunks of pork are great unless of course you only need a couple of chops. Happy cooking Mike.
Feb. 17, 2012 7:15 pm
LOLOLOL! I've had that rubber chicken for years...truly a new meaning to "choking the chicken" don't you think? Great blog!
Feb. 17, 2012 8:51 pm
Thanks for the great picture WW. I really do need to learn to pick my words more carefully! So, what do you have in your freezer? Huh? What country is in your future?
Feb. 18, 2012 5:56 am
Your words are perfect ;) What do I have in my freezer? Holy Cow! I have 2 freezers actually, a chest freezer and an upright. I have lobster tails, razor clams, Alaskan cod, a prime rib, rib steaks, pork loin chops, pork loin roasts, chicken, ground sirloin, a couple of huge beef roasts, sirloin steaks, flanken short ribs, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, asparagus...I think we have enough stuff in there to comfortably last the 3 or 4 of us about 3 or 4 months. Between 4 trailers, we have 5 freezers. One of our neighbors has elk and venison. My other neighbor loves to fish, so he has tons of salmon. Are you sorry you asked now?? LOL! If I decided not to shop for anything other than fresh produce for the next 3 months, we could eat like kings. Aruba is next week's #74. You have a great weekend :)
Feb. 18, 2012 10:05 am
Baking Nana, you are such an inspiration! Everyone here has a cold except me. I made my family homemade pizza and I had to freeze most of it-They just weren't feeling like eating. So, back to chicken soup for them. I know how much effort it takes to place photos in a blog. I commend you for making your blog as wonderful as it is. Your photos are lovely. I noticed pork loin was on sale this week here at $1.99 and not much else.bI wanted to try the pork loin you made in one of your blogs. BTW, I noticed anytime, I try to edit and add text here on AR, it goes to those little fonts. So, I just went back to the other blog I use from to edit it. However, a lot of work.
Feb. 18, 2012 11:20 am
Like BSM, when you said you couldn't find yeast, I immediately thought "I wonder if she checked her purse". Too funny! Great blog as always. My chicken breast plethora has gone down a bit this week, but the excess of pumpkin I share with you remains. sigh...... at least it is FUN to make our fav pumpkin recipes,,,but should NOT eat most of them too often. another sigh.....
Feb. 18, 2012 12:08 pm
I can take a few lessons from you! Jim always tells me that I can create a gormet meal from whats in the freeze and pantry! My mother in law coined my blog title... she always said I could rub two rocks together and make soup! Love this blog!
Feb. 19, 2012 7:34 am
Thanks for stopping in Witchy Woman. It sounds like you have some delicious food in your freezer. I can't wait to see what you come up with for Aruba.
Feb. 19, 2012 7:38 am
Lela - Thanks for the tips on the font - you are right and I will have to be more careful about editing in AR. Sorry the family has been sick. I have had 3 orders for Chicken Noodle Soup this week. There is a lot of "stuff" going around. I should make a batch for the freezer just in case....but then I will be adding to the freezer instead of emptying it. :/
Feb. 19, 2012 7:42 am
chris k - let me know what you end up doing with all that pumpkin. The family loves pumpkin bread but as you say we don't really 'need' it. I have a couple of sauces I make with pumpkin. I will have to think on this.
Feb. 19, 2012 7:45 am
Terry - Being able to put together a real meal from the contents of the pantry is a gift. It comes naturally to one of my daughters but not the other. My youngest will often say, "We don't have anything for dinner....." Yet when we scour her cabinets and freezer she has a ton of meal possibilities. 'Stone Soup' indeed!
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Baking Nana

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About Me
Every morning my granddaughter calls and says, "Good morning Nana. Whatcha doing? Are you baking Nana?" Hence my name, Baking Nana. I love to bake bread and never get tired of it. Yeast is additive! Visit me at If you would like to contact me directly please use the 'Contact Me' on my site.
My favorite things to cook
I go through phases, Asian for a while then Italian then on to something else. I love experimenting with new flavors and different spices. Some times my husband will ask if we will ever have "ordinary" food again. Once in a while I have to toss him a burger just to keep quite! Actually, he is a good sport and my favorite taste tester.
My favorite family cooking traditions
In our family if it is your birthday you get to choose the menu. We have had some really interesting meals. In March we have 5 birthdays so we do one big party - what a crazy menu that is! Christmas dinner is very traditional. Sausage rolls, Prime Rib, Yorkshire Pudding, gravy, Green beans with bacon, Mashed Potatoes (the really fattening kind) and trifle for dessert. If I were to dare to omit any of those items I would be lynched.
My cooking triumphs
Mastering really great bread is probably my biggest triumph. I am always so pleased when I create a perfect Asian dish.
My cooking tragedies
There have been a few but none so horrible that I can't laugh about them now.
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