Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Good Food. With lots of pics...

Do you like to cook? Some people really love cooking, where as some people not so much. Meanwhile some people are really good at sewing and that's their passion. Some people love to bake. Some people's passions are gardening. And while many of us are good at quite a few things and have a wide range of interests. We usually have 1 thing that is really our "favorite" of the bunch. : ) I'm not crafty and don't want to be. I don't sew (unless you count sewing name labels on my kids things that are necessary/required at school) I don't crochet. And I'm not frankly interested in sewing or crochet at all. Like if the subject were brought up, I'd be bored out of my skull. And that's okay. If we were all the exact same on this earth...it would make for a very boring earth. hahaha. : ) I however really enjoy cooking. I find cooking relaxing and fun. I like it a lot. And hey, that's okay, that's my thing.  And yes I do have other interests too. Like my treadmill, travel, my kids, my family, going to the movies, good TV, organizing my home, cosmetics and skincare, hanging at the beach in summer or wave pools. etc etc. And yes, I have friends who love sewing and crochet and I admire their skills, but it's not something I'm into at all and never will be. Where as many of my friends like cooking and some really dabble in cooking, I do have 1 friend, we've been friends since high school and she hates cooking. She dreads it. And that's okay too. : ) I love cooking all sorts of different types of cuisine. Chinese, Mexican, Italian, Tex-Mex, BBQ, Japanese. American. The list goes on. I love perfecting a dish until I know it's absolutely perfect (for me). Flavor is right on. And I enjoy all the tries/attempts it took to get there. I also love watching my love ones... enjoy the food I made for them. Watching them take their first bite. Watching them chow down and asking for seconds. That to me is like...a mom version of a touch down TRULY! I love that feeling. Probably dorkiest thing I have ever said. But that's okay. : ) Anyways, what have I made for my family lately? Here's some pics. Homemade from scratch refried beans. Boiled a pot of beans all morning. And right before I went to get Noah from school, I refried them real quick and covered them. Turned the stove off and came back in 7 minutes. And finished up the last minutes of supper that night.    

We had taquitos (crunchy rolled corn tortillas with rotisserie chicken breast from Costco, this is so flavorful it's perfect wrapped inside. Topped with sour cream, lettuce and cheese with a side of homemade beans and rice. Bran and Noboru eats 3 taquitos plus side dishes. But Noah and also my limit is usually 2 taquitos each. A very filling dinner.

Fresh fruit is booming and plentiful this season. We have been eating bunches and bunches of grapes every week. Fresh watermelon and fresh cantaloupe weekly too. For breakfast, lunches and dinners. We just honestly add fruit for every meal. My area of Japan has tons of fruit and melons especially cantaloupe and watermelons are super cheap... since I live right at the edge of Chiba and Ibaraki. And Ibaraki melons are well known for being delicious sweet and plentiful. For where we live they are super cheap. : ) 
Another night, I made cheesy gratin potatoes baked in the oven of course. These are always a hit around here. And I made fried chicken and we had steamed veggie and we also had salad as well.

I bought and snapped this pic... during Golden Week. But, my breakfasts are the same exactly....day in and day out. I have yogurt 5 days a week. That's just my morning thing. And I have toasted croissant with peanut butter and a sliced banana on top. Besia sells a croissant 4 pack for 98 yen or 99 yen. That 4 pack lasts me 4 days. And usually on my 5th day I'll have a slice of bakery bread toasted with peanut butter and banana. But yep, my breakfasts are cheap and healthy. I like knowing exactly how many calories are in my weekday breakfasts. Weekends are for nice leisurely indulgent breakfasts but weekday breakfasts are fast and basic. : ) This flavor of Greek yogurt is coconut and pineapple, it's really good, tastes very tropical. : )

Homemade pizza night happened one Friday.

The dough is resting for the day. : )

Baked in a 450F degree oven... the crust is so crisp and delicious. Yummers. : ) 

We had salad and pizza for dinner that night. Before we kicked off a family movie night at home.

Homemade chicken and cheese enchiladas. Right about to go into the oven. I make them in the day right after lunch. Make the Spanish rice in the day too (right after lunch) and leave covered on the stove. And the enchiladas I wrap in tin foil and place in the fridge. As soon as the kids get home. I whack this into the oven for 30 minutes. Since the kids have homework to do right when they get home and Bran showers usually right after he gets home. By the time they get done with all that. Dinners totally done. 

Fresh out of the oven that night.

Ready to top with some sour cream and chopped up lettuce.

This, I showed already. I had this pot roast in the oven slow cooking all day so it would be "fall apart" tender. Made a huge amount of mashed potatoes. made gravy and green beans. Branden loves pot roast, so I knew this would be the perfect...welcome home...after coming back from Kyoto. : ) 

Branden had seconds, Noah had a second serving. Noboru had 3 servings. These guys love pot roast. : ) We had just enough for about 4 sandwiches the next day. : )

This was such a killer sandwich. In fact I should make pot roast next week, just so we can all enjoy some sandwiches the next day. : ) 

Chicken parmesan happened too. And love how leftover hot dog buns become the perfect garlic breadsticks. So soft and perfect for garlic bread. If you're in Japan, you may want to try that. : )

This homemade pasta from Costco, I was showing the package to you in this pic.

This right here reminds me... of my family Sunday dinners growing up. Reminds me of Christmas time too... granted we never had chicken parmesan for Christmas dinner that was more a regular night... type of dinner. But my aunties and my mom always made homemade manicotti for Christmas. Christmas dinner to me... equals homemade from scratch Italian dinner.  So yeah this pasta....I am so glad we can get this pasta at Costco in Japan. This meal is so filling. I usually make this on a Friday or Saturday. In fact I am making this very meal... this Saturday. Noah usually on Saturday's is riding bikes or his RipStik outside with his friends. And by 4pm you can surely smell the many breaded... chicken parmesan baking in our oven on top of some sauce. You can smell it from outside. All the kids from our neighborhood know...delicious yummy food smells, dinner smells or cookies or brownies...just something is always baking or cooking at our house. By the time Noah gets in by 4:30-5pm at the latest, he is so ready to eat. : )

This night. American style fried pork chops, butter fettucini noodles, broccoli and we had salad too. Again, I like my kids to come home. They come home from school always... absolutely famished/starved. Even though I pack them a very filling lunch daily. And to see them tuck right into a nice big meal like this right away. Just makes me so happy. And we had fresh sliced and cubed watermelon for dessert this night.

A nice hearty beef stew. I had defrosted it in the fridge the night before. That morning, I diced up the beef in cubes and skillet fried and then boiled that beef for the entire day, while cleaning my house. Around 2pm-ish after the beef was indeed fall apart tender. I added the mushrooms and onions and potatoes and boiled for an extra 45 minutes. I then turned off the pot and added the roux. And at 3pm, it was ready, but Noah didn't get out of school until 3:45pm. The rice had beeped it was ready. And I went and picked up Noah from school. Bran has been riding his bike nearly every single day since starting the 9th grade. So he now rides his bike home. As soon as both kids were home and hubby was home, I very quickly reheated up the stew it took barely 5 minutes and during those 5 minutes I added a generous handful of frozen green beans to the top of the stew. Plated up everyone some hearty beef stew. We had another big dish of fresh seedless grapes in the center of the table for after stew...so everyone could munch on after our dinner. It was a darn good dinner that night. : ) 
Chopping up some peanut butter cups. You know what that means. : )

Peanut butter icecream happened one weekend. So super good and what a fun way to celebrate the weekend being here! With some peanut butter cup icecream.

Fresh corn on the cob is also so plentiful right now. Every night that we need a separate veggie...for example...when we have like fried porkchop, pulled pork or karaage or grilled chiken we have fresh corn as our veggie now. Because it's just in season right now and will be... all summer long. Again for our area of Japan we live in, fresh corn is super cheap too and the quality is so good, the corn is almost sweet.  Hard to explain but it's SO good. Pictured here were 4 ears of corn. I was peeling/shucking 1... when I remembered to take a pic. 

Also we also go through quite a bit of frozen veggies too. This pictured here...this amount.. will just last 1 full week. Why? Because we frankly eat lots of veggies. Skillet fried potatoes with corn niblets are so good. Ever had them? Yum. : ) Zucchini and corn niblets skillet fried in a dab of butter (calavacitas) ever had these? These are also so good and if you have a fresh chili to add to your zucchini and corn dish all the better. For weekend lunches or whatnot we go through tons of veggies around our house. : ) Always something cooking around here. : )  Anyway that's what's been cooking here at our house lately. : )