Friday, July 27, 2012


I have just received a request for a blog post from my eldest baby who is off in Chicago on a J1 visa for the summer - learning to appreciate what a good time he has of things at home!!!!!!

He needs some familiar, easy, everyday type recipes - that use very little in the line of kitchen equipment (and dare I say skill - sorry son!!!).  I would appreciate any links for suitable recipes in the comment section - he'll be able to access them - thanks a million in advance.

Pasta dishes spring to mind - and I suppose the most basic of them all is a cheese sauce/mushroom sauce - here goes:

Cheese Sauce

You use equal amounts of butter and plain flour (say a tablespoon of each), melt the butter in a pan (medium heat) add the flour and stir until smooth (you need to do this for at least a minute to get rid of the raw flour taste).
Now (a whisk is good for this but a spoon will do) stirring all the time add milk - hard to give a quantity - just keep stirring it in until you have the right consistency - slightly thinner that you would think as the cheese will thicken it up again (don't worry you can always add more milk)
For anyone with a stocked kitchen, it is really nice to add some English mustard powder (1/2 tsp) and a few grates of nutmeg before adding the milk.
Add your cheese (plenty), grated or chopped up small, and there you have it.

Mac and cheese

Cheese Sauce
Bacon (optional)
Mushrooms (optional)
Broccoli (optional, and because you need your greens!!)

Cook your pasta of choice - I usually use penne.
Drain the pasta and add the cheese sauce to it.
Fry up some rashers of bacon/bacon bits.
Saute mushrooms.
Steam some broccoli (getting the healthy theme here???)
Add all together and place into an ovenproof dish.
Scatter a bit more cheese on top and put in the oven at a medium heat.
Check after about 15/20 minutes - if it's bubbling on top, it's done.

Mind your hands taking it out of the oven - don't burn yourself!!!

Mushroom Sauce

Instead of adding cheese to your (slightly thicker) white sauce, add your slow cooked mushroom - this is good on freshly cooked pasta (no faffing about with ovens!!!)

Fried Fish

Buy some nice flat white fish.
Heat up a frying pan - should be nice and hot before the fish goes in.
Put some flour on a plate and mix in some salt (1/4 tsp to about 2 tbsp flour)
Place the fish on the flour - both sides. Brush off any excess.
Put some oil in the pan (olive is good but don't stress, whatever is there)
Fry the fish - skin side down first, you want this crispy.
Turn down the heat to cook the other side - won't take long, depending on the thickness of the fillet.
You can of course cook some prawns to go with it - or wait for your Mammy to do that when you get home!!!

Our Usual Salmon

Very easy, and very good for you.
Get a darn/fillet of salmon (you could use trout, any pink fish)
Sprinkle some Cajun spice on top and then bake in the oven for about 10/15 minutes.

Fish Pie

Buy an assortment of fish - some smoked, and whatever else is cheap (better not to use oily fish here)
Poach in milk - place the fish in a saucepan and cover with milk, heat up gently until the fish is just slightly underdone.
Now take out the fish and place in an oven proof dish.
You can add some frozen peas at this stage (those greens again!!)
Make some white sauce, using the leftover milk.
Pour the sauce over the fish.
You can put mashed potatoes, breadcrumbs even some mashed up crisps on top.
Bake until bubbling.

I hope this is enough to get you going - and not too boring for everyone else!!!

I want to apologise for not being around for the past few months - the enormity of losing my sister just struck me with a hammer blow, and I needed all my energy to just do the day to day stuff ..... but I'm back!!!


Ana Regalado said...

Hey !!!!! Glad you're back ! Tell him to cook some stir fries , simple and easy :)

My condolences for your loss .....

Stephen C said...

Few thing are easier than my recipe for broiled chicken thighs, which is posted just prior to the current post appearing on my blog: The chicken can easily be accompanied by one of several "Simply Potatoes" products available in all supermarkets in the US and requiring only a microwave (although stove top is an option). There are a number of more than acceptable frozen veggies: peas, corn, lima beans, artichokes, soy beans. He should avoid any frozen leafy greens except cut leaf spinach. Good luck.

Unknown said...

Try this one, really easy (and healthy, to keep Mum happy :P)

YAY for overseas adventure!!

From Beyond My Kitchen Window said...

I can't even imagine your loss. So glad you took some time and of course I'm thrilled your back. How exciting for your son to be in the Windy City. They recipes should keep his belly full and not belly aching.

thecelticcookinshanghai said...

Nice to see you back, I'm sure he will survive. A few basics can help produce a lot of variations, plus of course as all Americans he will soon be ordering take out.

Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes said...

Hi BV Girl, I'm glad to hear that you took a break to take care of yourself. I can't imagine your pain. As you know I lost my mom last September and I still fight the urge to phone her . . . I'm so happy you're back!

Now, to take care of #1 Son, I came up with 5 crustless quiche recipes which couldn't be any easier ~ I hope he likes eggs!

Phil in the Kitchen said...

Good to hear from you.

I reckon that pasta, noodles and couscous can get most people through a lack of kitchen knowledge crisis. And couscous is probably the easiest of all, especially since it can be combined with so many things (some of them quite healthy).

Choclette said...

Yay, good to have you back. My go to easy recipe is dahl (using red lentils as quick to cook) and rice - cheap too. Just fry up some onions & garlic, add spices of choice. Chuck in some washed lentils add water. Simmer for 20 mins. Add salt & serve. Can also use coconut milk. Add lemon juice at the end. Add tomatoes. Add chopped veg at the frying stage. Brilliantly versatile, brilliantly tasty.

Unknown said...

Oh My GAWD... I was just thinking about you and how I hadn't heard from you in an age... SOOOOO glad you're back and TOTALLY understand your pain... loss can creep up on you at the most unassuming times and your priority it YOU and those who love you... re your son... lots of soup recipes always found me in good stead when I was away from home but failing that he needs to find a good chinese supermarket... they do the best dry noodles that are so much better than the ones that come in pot! xx

Susan Lindquist said...

OMG! I'm so glad to see this post! Of course, dealing with your huge grief must have been the most important hurdle for you, but nothing like a child's need to yank you back, huh? So happy to see you, dearie!

As for your son, here are a few easy soups! The Windy City can get chilly now and then ... and soup is a perfect and cheap meal!

Brownieville Girl said...

Thanks a million everyone - I'm away from my computer at the moment, I'm really looking forward to reading all the links and catching up generally.

teresa said...

i'm so sorry for your loss, i hope you're finding peace as the days go by.

this was a great post, you can't beat the basics!

laura_howtocook said...

Oh I can imagine you have been through it recently. Tough and impossible to do anything when such a major blow happens.
Lovely that you are back and what a brilliant reason to get writing again.
I do love a good curry myself. Meat or veggie with an authentic Thai red/green curry paste, coconut milk, some lime and coriander. Bit of red pepper, fresh spinach and thinly sliced mushrooms. Serve with Jasmine rice and a cold beer!

Rosita Vargas said...

Un plato muy sabroso en mi casa esto es un éxito me encanta,abrazos hugs,hugs.

Sue/the view from great island said...

So glad to see you back! These dishes should keep your son going for quite some time, I think you covered all the most important food bases! My thoughts are with you.

Lesley said...

I'm just waiting for this moment from my daughter, meanwhile she seems to be doing ok as long as it's pasta and tomato sauce or cupcakes!

I am so sorry for your loss. Really nice to read your blog again.

Unknown said...

Good to see a post from you again, I am sorry for all you've been through. Great idea to post family recipes on a web page you son can bookmark and keep coming back to! I shall do same when my kids are of that age!

Gloria Baker said...

I love this dear look awesome and Im soooo happy you comeback; I missed you a lot!