Patty’s Magic Kitchen

I make dinner 5 – 6 times a week. Many of these meals are ready in 20 minutes or less. Even though I love to cook, not everyday. Over the years I developed some practices to make it work for me. Whenever I make a special meal, I make twice as much and freeze a meal for later. I enjoy shopping and when I find the great deals, I buy extra. My time counts when I’m in the kitchen. I stock up, if it makes sense.
WP_20160607_11_34_25_ProI use peppers and onionsWP_20160518_12_30_01_Pro in lots of recipes. When I have time, I buy a lot, do the prep (slice or dice) and put them in the freezer.WP_20160617_16_39_26_Pro When it’s time to cook, much of my prep is already done. I also love mushrooms and buy at the best price. Saute a large container, cool them and lay them flat in a zip bag and freeze.WP_20160611_20_08_21_ProWhen ready to use, I can get the exact amount I need.

In 2009, I was part of an international cooking competition for Saladmaster. Many countries were represented and we won! I’ll be sharing that recipe next time. This time I want to share one of the key ingredients in the dish and how to make it from scratch. When we won the contest, we used Harry & David’s Pepper and Onion relish (classic recipe).H&DpepperandonionrelishA few years later I decided to try to duplicate the recipe, with the help of the Internet. After several trys, this is very close to the original recipe. During one of our cooking classes, we learned to make the recipe. We even learned how to can and process.WP_20160901_11_16_35_Pro (2)

Sweet pepper onion relish
6 C.tomatoes (skinned, diced & drained) or 4 large cans(diced)
6 large red bell peppers, diced – 4 C. sugar (white or brown)
2 T. salt – 3 C. white vinegar – 1 t. cayenne pepper
4 Jalapenos (seeded & diced) – 3 large onions(diced)
1 envelope Pectin

Mix all the ingredients except Pectin and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and
let simmer 2-2 1/2 hours, until thickened. Whisk in the Pectin and continue
to simmer 1 minute; Pour into sterile jars and process. yields 12 jelly jars.

One of the benefits of making your own relish is cost and the other is being able to make it your own. The real jars sells online for $6.99 and our recipe is about $1 per jar. Being able to make it your own means, you can change the spice level and the flavorings. My daughter Cynthia and I have always made something special for family and friends for Christmas. One year our “Sweet pepper onion relish” was one of our special gifts. The relish is a great ingredient in many dishes, including the Awesome dip. The recipe can also be made in a slow cooker over several hours. We got the canning kit at WalMart and it included instructions and all the tools we needed. It’s really easy, the jars, rings and lids need to be sterilized. You boil everything for the required time. Next drain to remove any water. Fill each jar and the instructions tell you how full, wipe away anything spilled, top with the rings and screw on the lids, but not too tight. Next you place the jars back in the boiling water and process the amount of time specified. For the relish, I leave ¼” space at the top of the jars, seal them and process for at least 5 minutes. When I pull the jars out of the water, I place them on a kitchen towel and as the seal forms there is a popping sound. Once they have cooled, I tighten the lids and store in the original boxes with the dividers in place. WP_20160902_15_28_40_Pro

The Awesome dip is just 2 ingredients – 1 jar of relish and 8 oz. of cream cheese. Blend together and it can be stored in the original jars. It is great with crackers, veggies or chips. (really good party food)

Some of the other foods always in my freezer; grated cheese( I grate it, bag it & freeze it) cooked bacon (wrapped in paper towel), all the nuts go in the freezer to preserve freshness. I have hamburger patties, packages of butter and leftover dinners.
The leftover dinners are also perfect for lunches, I bag them in 1 meal servings and put all the bags into a larger zip bag.WP_20160613_14_08_34_Pro Since, I don’t use a microwave, I thaw and heat my lunch in a skillet and put it in a Thermos or it goes on a plate for my dinner. Next time, we’ll make the Award winning recipe.

Remember to Be Nice, Be Kind and Be of Service!

Pat Green

Respect, how to give and get it!

To treat with esteem is to give respect, according to Webster. Respect is craved by most, could it be that we need to be validated and valued? How does this happen, first of all everyone should be valued as a human being. The next time you see a homeless person, please look at them and acknowledge their existence. Something happened in that person’s life. Make their day with a smile or a nod. Let them know that they matter and you see them. Things happen, medical, financial, addictions and mental health issues. Many times it just takes one thing to push them over the edge. Be grateful for the people in your life that keep you off the edge.

I have worked with and for many people. Working with others is not always easy. There are different skill sets and personalities involved. The best solution is to get everyone on the same page. One of my rules is to always tell the truth. If I don’t know the answer, the correct response is ” I don’t know but I will find out.” Never, never pretend to know, when you don’t. People always know the truth. I have been in management positions many times and the key to success has been to get everyone working for the same goal. If they do a good job, it makes you look good. When they do a good job, reward them in ways that matter to them. Get to know your team and what is important to them. Never say no, if a yes can work. Most people want to do a good job, some times they just don’t know how. It’s your job to guide them. We always want to be recognized. Respect them for what they can do for your team and you. Never treat employees as if they have to do it, because you say so. That only works with children, some of the time. The people you are working with have lives outside of the job and they put that other life on hold, while doing their best for you. Please keep that in mind. If it all ends tomorrow, how do you want to be remembered? You could be that s.o.b. or the best boss they’ve ever had. It’s your choice.

If you think you are better than them, you are not. Get over it and move on. Learn to appreciate your staff. The truth is you are not better than anyone, you just got the job. Now, you need to prove they made the right choice. Your staff can be your ticket to success, it all depends on you. Give what you want to receive.

I have noticed more and more that drivers are not using their turn signals. That is a form of disrespect. How will they know what you are planning to do.We can’t yell out the window, this is our only way to communicate our next move. I’ve been driving for many years and not once has my turn signal stopped working. If I want to exit or just move to another lane, how will they know what I’m trying to do, if I don’t tell them? Just think about it, it will be safer for all on the roads. Be courteous, it always goes back to treating people the way you want to be treated.

Life is not always easy and sometimes, we can get more with honey than vinegar. Smile, be helpful, kind and know that people may not be in a good place. You can acknowledge the other person by just being respectful. Here’s an interesting concept, put someone else first. We can get so much more in this life, by giving in. There is victory in knowing when to give in. Next week, Patty’s Magic Kitchen WP_20160607_11_34_25_ProWP_20160617_16_39_26_Pro

Remember to Be Nice, Be Kind and Be of Service!

Pat Green

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies – Heather’s

For years I was using the recipe on the package, and then I tasted Heather’s recipe. Oh my goodness, her’s were so much better. Using real butter and more brown sugar than white, really makes a difference. I worked with Heather in 2000 at Mesa Airlines and I don’t remember her last name, but I sure do remember the cookies. Once I got over the shock, that her’s were better, I embraced them as my own. WP_20160704_13_35_19_ProAdding salt was the only change and I adjusted the bake temperature. Remember, always make the recipe as written the first time. Once you know what it should taste like, than you can “tweak” it.
The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 sticks of butter, softened
1/2 C. sugar
1 C. packed brown sugar
2 eggs (always use large)
1 t. vanilla
1 t. salt
3 C. all-purpose flour
1/2 t. baking soda
2 C. Chocolate chips (semi-sweet)
1 C. chopped nuts (Walnuts or Pecans, optional)
With an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugars. Next, mix in the eggs and then the vanilla. Make sure all is incorporated and gradually add in 1/2 mixture of flour, baking soda and salt. Once combined, add the rest of the flour mixture. Add in the chips and nuts a little at a time. Once completely incorporated, let the dough rest at least 15 minutes or refrigerate. Spoon large tablespoons of dough (walnut size)on to a prepared pan(foil or parchment paper lined), space them 3 across and no more than 5 rows. Bake them at 350″ for 5 minutes, rotate and bake 5 more minutes. You are looking for golden color on the bottom & the tops should have a little shine. Cool and enjoy! This recipe makes 5 dozen. WP_20160704_12_17_51_ProWP_20160704_12_42_40_Pro
Just a side note, you cream the sugars and butter together because if you don’t the dough has a burned taste. I don’t know the science. but one day my daughter Cynthia asked why and so we made the cookies without creaming first and the result was not good. Sometimes, the right answer is “because I said so”. For years we made cookies for family and mailed them all over the country, for Christmas gifts. You can also make “freezer” cookies, just spoon the dough balls on parchment paper, once frozen, put them in a freezer bag. When ready to bake, just place on cookie sheet, thaw (10- 15 minutes) and bake. Please let me know what you want to see and hear and don’t forget to share me.
Remember to Be Nice, Be Kind & Be of Service
Pat Green

ALL Lives MATTER!

I can not be silent. I have lived all 74 of my years as a black women and I have a point of view. Every time someone dies under strange circumstances, we grieve. This could be the beginning of the end. Respect is what we are all looking for. Is it possible that we can all have it? The answer is YES. If we treat others the way we want to be treated, the world would be a much better place. If we can stop placing blame and start accepting responsibility for all our choices. We most start looking in the mirror. I am guilty of judging people, because of how they dress, they speak, how they look and what they do. I know that I am wrong and I am working on me.
Could it be, that others are guilty of the same thing and how can we change? This may be a shocking concept, let’s first look at ourselves.

Anger is a key component. I can remember being in a department store and someone following me through the store. Why were they following me, could it have been my color? I remember going to look at a house and the realtor leaned on Walter’s car door to prevent him from getting out of the car. He asked us why we would want to live in this neighborhood. It’s easy to get angry, but what do we gain? My goal has always been to excel, not just get by or get even.

Early in my life I decided to fit in. I know that I am as good as you are, but I have to prove it to the you and the world. I talk the way most people talk, with good grammar. I don’t use slang and always present myself in a professional way. These are choices I make, because I choose to be included. Many people are in survival mode, angry, hostile and looking for someone to blame. Why and how can this help us thrive? This may be a new concept for some, let’s thrive and not just survive. Speaking of surviving, I saw this video yesterday and it makes me sad, because it may be necessary for our black men to survive.What to do when stopped by police officersPlease watch it. I can’t even imagine the fear that happens when the “flashing light” goes on. I have been stopped, but the only fear I had was, am I going to get a ticket? Fear for my life has never entered my mind. Just for a moment put your self in a black man’s shoes. Most black men are not guilty of anything. We have always been told, that we are innocent until proven guilty. Is that for everyone?

I have friends who are police officers and I can’t imagine a more stressful job. They run to danger, when all instincts tell us to run the other way. It is a thankless job and everyday their families don’t know if they are coming home. 99.9% of these officers are decent, honorable and awesome.
I say thank you and I pray for you daily. Respect is what you deserve. To say that all officers are bad is as stupid as saying all black men are bad. It’s the same wrong argument.

The bottom line is, we are flawed, but trying to do the right thing.one race Please take some time to consider this reality. We are more alike than different. Ask one question, what can you do to make it better?

Remember to Be Nice, Be Kind and Be of Service!
Pat G.

A few of my favorite things

Last year I decided to start a blog. My plan is to retire at 75 and do what I love. I thought of starting cooking classes, but that is a lot of physical work. Blogging was born. I must tell you, this is not easy. I am not as savy as I want to be. But I am not a quitter. My mindset is to learn something new everyday. Even though, there have been many challenges, this is such a trip! Learning that I can make money blogging, really peeked my interest. Advertising is one of the ways to make money. I want to let you know that I will always tell the truth. I promise that I will never advertise anything that I don’t like or use! So I have decided to share “a few of my favorite things.”

In January 2009, we traveled to Washington D.C. to a Saladmaster convention. We were involved in a international cooking competition. I was so excited and sick as a dog. It was a cold with extreme coughing. I tried all my go-to’s to get me better and nothing was working. We were all given goody bags at the airport. In the bag I found “Airborne” WP_20160611_16_11_18_ProWP_20160619_16_32_16_Pro I was so desperate, I decided to try it. I started to feel better and was able to not only compete with my team, WE WON! Now at the first sign of sniffles I take Airborne. I never leave home without it. This is something I recommend to everyone I meet. I pay between $5-$7 depending on where I get it.

At least once a month, I’m in Sam’s club for the “donut ministry”(also known as Hospitality). Every now and then I will pickup a roasted chicken ($4.99 and already cooked). One day I went in and they were giving samples of an Asian chopped salad.WP_20160610_17_46_11_ProNormally I don’t buy “kit food”, but I wanted to try it. It has become my favorite salad. The base is a coleslaw with cilantro, green onions, a yummy dressing (sesame ginger)and you top it with slivered almonds and Wonton noodles. I got hooked on the fact that everything is in the bag. This time,being a family of one, convenience trumps cost! I paid $2.58 for 3-4 servings and at Albertson’s the kit was $5.00 for 6 servings. The smaller bag is better for me, because the vegetables can wilt before I finish the bag.
A couple of years ago we went on a woman’s retreat and I fell in love with this electric kettle.WP_20160313_13_52_33_Pro (2)WP_20160619_16_37_11_ProMine is the first one and has a larger, capacity 1.7 liters. Yes, it is cord free when you lift it off the base. It heats the water in less than 5 minutes. This is perfect for a tea drinker like me, it’s fast and very convenient. Many recipes call for hot or boiling water and I have it quickly. This one I got at Costco for under $25.00 and I use it everyday.

This next item, I have used for years and it is always in my lunch kit as an emergency meal.WP_20160611_16_08_25_Pro After making the soup for dinner, I realized that it would be great for a quick lunch. The package makes 8 servings(1/4 C. dry,each) and I can measure a serving into a zip bag and add a little chicken bouillon(dry). I take it to work, pour into a cup, add boiling water, stir and cover. In 5 minutes it’s soup. When I make the whole bag, I add chopped broccoli, sauteed onions,chicken bouillon, boiling water and let it simmer for 30 minutes. Yes I could make it from scratch, but why? It’s a really good base and very easy to put together.This one I always get at Big Lots, it’s $3.00 a bag, one of the best prices in town. I have served it as a covered dish many times.

The last one is Gruyere cheese.WP_20160617_17_44_56_Pro I first tried this cheese in a recipe for French Onion soup. Whenever I try a new recipe, I always make it as written the first time. Once I know how it should taste, I have the freedom to tweek it. With the cheese, I always grate my cheese and store in a freezer bag. The benefit is, I can use less cheese and still get the flavor I’m looking for. One of the many things in my freezer(ready for me when I’m ready for it). It’s very tasty and slightly smokey. This cheese is not cheap, can be as much as $16 per pound, I found this half pound package at WalMart for $3.99. Much more to share, later.
Remember to Be Nice, Be Kind and Be of Service!
Pat G