Hey Guys, thank you for all the good vibes for me and Riley Jo. It is all very much appreciated. Riley Jo came through the surgery amazingly well. However, the damage was more extensive than Dr. Dill thought. We will be going for a re – check on October 29th to evaluate whether or not Riley Jo will need further surgery. Keep your fingers crossed she doesn’t. Right now, Riley Jo’s biggest complaint is she has to be in a cage by herself because I have to monitor her food intake and I keep giving her icky pain medication every morning.
As for me, I am starting to relax enough to let Riley Jo, Beau and Squeak play together when I am around to supervise. I can actually leave the room without freaking out that every noise I hear is Riley Jo hurting herself. Yeah, I am a mess.
I haven’t been doing much cooking this week. This casserole is really the only attempt I have made to cook anything, which is a testament to how physically, mentally and emotionally draining this week has been. Usually, you can’t pry me out of my kitchen.
Texas Hash Casserole
Adapted from The Crazy Casserole Cookbook
1/2 lb ground beef
1 large onion, sliced
1 medium green pepper, seeded and chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
2 8 oz cans tomato sauce
1/2 cup long grain white rice
2 tsp chili powder
salt and pepper, taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 1 1/2 to 2 quart casserole with non-stick cooking spray and set aside. In a frying pan, over medium heat, cook the ground beef until no longer pink, about 8 minutes. Add the onion, green pepper, and garlic. Stir until the vegetables soften. Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, rice and chili powder. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole and bake 45 minutes or until slightly crusted on top.
Sometimes I really hate being proven right. I have always said “just because they never have doesn’t mean they never will” in response to people who tell me their cats and/or dogs have never bothered their birds or other prey animals we keep for pets.
I keep my bird cage and rat cage in the same room about 50 feet from each other. I have been very careful about training my birds to stay away from the rats cage. For the 4 years I have had rats and birds keeping them so close together has never been an issue. Its never been an issue until yesterday morning.
I was in my bed room getting ready for work when I heard a loud squawk. It didn’t concern me too much because my birds fight like brothers and sisters, someone is always squawking at someone else. However, the second time I heard it I went to investigate what was going on and found my cockatiel, Squeak, hanging on the side of the rat cage and my rat, Bug, hanging onto Squeak’s toes. I grabbed Squeak and saw his toes were bloody. I freaked out a little bit. Since I couldn’t see where the blood was coming from I used the corner of my shirt to put pressure on his foot. Fortunately, the wounds didn’t bleed for long and the wounds weren’t severe. The situation could have resulted in the amputation of toes or foot. The wounds could have resulted in blood loss that killed Squeak. I will be watching Squee for signs of infection in his wounds, for probably, a lot longer then I need too.
This story has a happy ending. As I type this, Squeak is sitting in his favorite place preening his feathers and telling his cage mate, Riley, off for trying to sit next to him. Squee is eating well and gripping my fingers with both feet when I pick him up. As of this posting, Squee’s adventure has been more tramatic for me then it has been for him. If you have a flock of predator animals and prey animals please don’t assume just because the predator animals have never bothered the prey animals they never will. You might not be as lucky as I have.
Pressure Cooker Breakfast Casserole
1 TBS olive oil
1/2 small onion, diced
1/2 small bell pepper, diced
1 cup baby spinach
1/4 cup cooked pork sausage
1 1/2 cups potato, peeled and shredded
3 egg , beaten
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1 cup mild cheddar cheese, shredded
In the liner of your 2 quart pressurecooker, Saute onion and green bell pepper in hot oil until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach and cook until wilted. Add cooked sausage and shredded potatoes.
In a small bowl mix the eggs, cheddar cheese and cottage cheese. Gently stir into the vegetable mixture. Lock the lid and bring to high pressure. Cook for 5 minutes then natural releaase.
I live in North Dakota so hot dishes, aka casseroles, are common. They are quick, easy, generally inexpensive, and usually appeal to kids and adults. What casseroles are not, is very healthy. Hot dishes usually rely heavily on cream of crud soups and salty seasonings packets.
Tatertot hotdish will never be a completely healthy food but we can make it healthier by making our own cream sauce instead of using cream of crud soup. I love to use Cabot extra sharp Vermont cheddar cheese in this recipe but you can use any flavorful cheese you like.
Debby's Tatertot Hotdish
½ lb ground beef
½ cup frozen mixed vegetables
3 TBS butter
3 TBS flour
½ cup milk
½ cup chicken broth
½ cup cheddar cheese
¼ cup finely chopped onion
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef until no longer pink; drain and set aside. Turn the heat to low and melt the butter. Add the flour to the butter, whisk and cook 3 minutes. Gradually, add the milk and broth. Add the onion. Whisk the broth mixture constantly until it starts to thicken. Add the cheese and whisk until melted. Stir in the ground beef and vegetables. Transfer the mixture to a 3 cup baking dish and top with the tater tots. Bake for 40 minutes.