Sunday, January 9, 2011

Texas Oven-Roasted Beef Brisket

I bought some brisket for the first time. I found this recipe from Paula Dean which was pretty easy and very tasty. I served it with some mashed potatoes and it was very good! This does cook a long time, so it is a good Saturday or Sunday meal.


  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt **The reviews said this is too much salt. I just used 1 teaspoon. You could probably use 2 teaspoons and be okay.
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 bay leaf, crushed
  • 4 pounds beef brisket, trimmed
  • 1 1/2 cups beef stock


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Make a dry rub by combining chili powder, salt, garlic and onion powders, black pepper, sugar, dry mustard, and bay leaf. Season the raw brisket on both sides with the rub. Place in a roasting pan and roast, uncovered, for 1 hour.

Add beef stock and enough water to yield about 1/2 inch of liquid in the roasting pan. Lower oven to 300 degrees F, cover pan tightly and continue cooking for 3 hours, or until fork-tender.

Trim the fat and slice meat thinly across the grain. Top with juice from the pan.

** I used baked this in my dutch oven.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Butter Chicken

As I did the meal planning for the month, I asked Clay if there were anything he could think of that would be good to try. He told me that there was a yogurt based Indian chicken that he really likes, so this was the recipe I found for butter chicken. This is a great introduction to Indian spices. It has a milder taste than most curry based dishes. The girls enjoyed this, too. It took a little balancing as far as getting everything going, but I think it will easier next time. I would suggest having all the ingredients laid out before you begin.


1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
1/4 white onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup tomato puree
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 pinch salt
1 pinch black pepper
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup water

1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Saute shallot and onion until soft and translucent. Stir in butter, lemon juice, ginger-garlic paste, 1 teaspoon garam masala, chili powder, cumin and bay leaf. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add tomato sauce, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in half-and-half and yogurt. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with salt pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat, and season with 1 teaspoon garam masala and cayenne. Stir in a few spoonfuls of sauce, and simmer until liquid has reduced, and chicken is no longer pink. Stir cooked chicken into sauce.

3. Mix together cornstarch and water, then stir into the sauce. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes, or until thickened.

Server over rice.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Meal Planning, January 2011

Here is plan for the Gordon Family's Meals for January 2011

Meal Planning- A How to Guide for Busy Families

Welcome to 2011. I am welcoming in new year with open arms. I sat down the other day with a new calendar with the hopes of planning out a couple of weeks of January. I know that once school starts back, the family will be off and running. I also found out toward the end of last year, that I don't plan my meals, we don't eat as well during the week. I sat down with the calendar, and I was able to easily sketch out a month's worth of meals. I surprised myself. Now, I will see how much things change during the month. Right now I am planning on the family eating in at 6 nights a week. That will be a challenge. However, after the holiday, we need to eat in. If you start meal planning this year, try to keep some things in mind as you plan.

1. Start with planning a week at a time. Don't try a month to begin with. A week is plenty.

2. Make a grocery list on the weekend, shop and get all you need for the week, and then group your ingredients together in the pantry and fridge. It helps me stay organized.

3. Use the weekend (or evenings if you would rather) to pre-prep what you can for the week. My Thursday meal will almost always be made on Sunday.

4. After dinner each night, pull out what you need for the next night. I don't know how many times I have forgotten to pull meat out for the next day, because I forgot to plan ahead a bit.

5. Look at your schedule:

Gordon Schedule

  • Sunday: Homecooked Meal Night: I love trying new recipes and cooking a big dinner. This is a tradition that Clay brought from his house growing up. I have grown to love it. I try a lot of new recipes on Sunday afternoons.

  • Monday: Dance until 6:30 (Crockpot works best- girls are HUNGRY with they get home)

  • Tuesday: Home around 4:15- I enjoy cooking, but nothing to intricate

  • Wednesday: All home around 6. We are coming from two different places and activities with the kids.

  • Thursday: I'm a tired. . . so this is a night were I want something prepared and ready to go in the oven.

  • Friday/ Saturday: I will cook one of the two nights. Meal is planned for one or the other, but the other night will be to eat out.

So, knowing that - here is what I have figured out for us:

  • Sunday- cooking a big meal

  • Monday- Crockpot Night

  • Tuesday- Cook, but low maintenance

  • Wednesday- Crockpot, or Sandwiches

  • Thursday- Make-Ahead Meal (made on the weekend)

  • Friday/ Saturday- Family Favorites

5. Post your schedule on the fridge. I use a calendar. I try to make notes as the week goes on so I can see what works and what doesn't.

Here is a template for the year:

Black-Eyed Pea Soup- New Year's Tradition

I am not a superstious person. However, I don't see anything wrong with starting the new year off right. So, on New Year's day, we have a pot of black-eyed peas going. THis is an EASY recipe that is hard to mess up, but has a great deal of taste. It would be a great recipe on any cold winter day.

1 lb of Black-eyed Peas
2 cups of diced ham
1 medium onions, chopped
1 Can of diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon of Salt
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper

Soak peas overnight.

Place peas in crockpot, and cover peas with water. Add ham, chopped onions, and can of diced tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper halfway through cooking. Place crockpot on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 4 to 6 hours. If needed, add more water, salt, or black pepper to taste.

Serve with cornbread muffins.

Browning Mix- Gift Idea

This was the other mix that Mary gave to us. I made the brownies for a New Year's Eve Party. It made 2 dozen brownies. They were really good, and they were from scratch. Something I am a big fan of. :) I could see these making great gifts for families in the future.


1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup mini chocolate chip

Directions:Prep Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 10 mins


Wash and dry jars and lids in the dishwasher. Mix together flour, baking powder, and salt in a quart jar, pack firmly and brush residue off the insides of the jar with a pastry brush. Add cocoa, pack firmly and brush sides. Add sugar, pack and brush. Add chocolate chips and seal.

Attach the following recipe

1 jar brownie mix
1 cup butter melted
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare a 9x13 inch baking pan by greasing and flouring.Place brownie mix in a bowl and stir to mix. Add butter, eggs and vanilla and mix until well blended. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.

Bake 25-30 minutes. Cool completely before cutting.

Chicken Noodle and Lentil Soup Mix-Gift Idea

This was gift that we received for Christmas from Clay's cousin this year. The jar of soup mix was perfect this week as we returned home and had energy to cook. The girls and I really enjoyed the soup, but Clay LOVED it. I will be making this again for sure.

¼ cup of red lentils
2 tbsp. dried onion flakes
1 ½ tablespoons chicken bouillon granules
½ tsp. dried dill weed or dill seed
1/8 tsp each celery seed and garlic powder
approximately 1 cup medium egg noodles
1 bay leaf.

Directions:In a two-cup jar, layer from bottom in the order listed above, then seal the jar.

Write these instructions on your gift tag:Bring 8 cups of water to boil in large saucepan. Stir in jar of soup mix. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Discard bay leaf and stir in 1½ cups of frozen corn or mixed vegetables and 2 cups of cooked, diced chicken or turkey. Simmer for five minutes until vegetables are tender and chicken is heated through.