Monday, December 31, 2007


Peter loves spinach. Just plain old cooked spinach. I do not. I do enjoy spinach in other dishes or when it's doctored up. So here's a lovely quick way to make spinach taste good, coming from my very own mother in law. She sometimes substitutes kale for the spinach in the recipe - also good and good for you!

Panned Spinach
1 lb spinach-wash and remove coarse stems, shake off as much water as possible
In a large, heavy skillet heat the following:
1 T butter
2 T olive oil
Add 1 clove minced garlic
Add spinach. Cover at once and cook over high heat until steam appears. Reduce heat and simmer until tender, 5-6 minutes in all.
To make this Sicilian spinach: add 2 or more chopped anchovies

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Gingerbread Cookies!!!

i LOVE making gingerbread cookies, or maybe I just love gingerbread anything. Here is a recipe that I remember my mom using since I was ..well..young enough to remember. It's from the 1974 edition of Betty Crocker cookbook.

Gingerbread Cookies (actually labeled "gingerbread people")

1.5 cups dark molasses
1 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup cold water
1/3 cup butter (that's 3 tbsp, as labeled on the butter package)
7 cups flower
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Mix molasses, brown sugar, water and butter. Mix in remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hrs.

Heat oven to 350. Roll dough 1/4 inch thick on floured board. Cut with floured gingerbread cookie cutters. Place 2 inches apart on lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake until no indentation occurs. About 10-12 mins Decorate as desired.

Makes about 2.5 dozen cookies

-My mom taught me this trick: pour a little bit of olive oil/or any oil..into the cup for the molasses and use your finger to coat the cup. The molasses will come right out.

-I didn't grease the cookie sheet, instead we used wax paper. Less mess. Works just as well.

-I forgot about carry over heat, so I kept baking my cookies util they were practically hard, and they kept baking after I took them out, so some of mine were overdone. I was cooking them for about 18 minutes!! tooooolongggg...but bear in mind that every oven is different.

-To frost them, you can do whatever your like, but I just mixed 2 tbsp water with 2 tbsp powdered sugar/food coloring, and it MAKES A MESS!! So I decreased the amount of water. The recipe suggests Decorator's frosting, but I liked this better..I like mine smothered in frosting as you can see in the picture.

French Toast Souffle

Souffle makes it sound so official and fancy, doesn't it? Really it is just a casserole that I like to make thru the holidays. We are having friends over for brunch tomorrow and I was making this. It prompted me to post the recipe in case anyone else wants it in time for Christmas.

French Toast Souffle

16 slices of cinnamon bread, cut into cubes
8 oz. low fat cream cheese
8 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
2/3 cups half and half
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 TBS powdered sugar

Place cubed bread in bottom of 9x13 dish. Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add eggs one at a time. Mix well after each addition. Add milk, half and half, maple syrup and vanilla. Pour mixture over the bread. Chill, covered for 8-12 hours. Remove from fridge 30 minutes before baking. Bake 375 for 50 minutes uncovered. Sprinkle powdered sugar over the top and serve.

It is so delicious. Hope you all enjoy!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Roast in the crockpot

I've never made a roast before, but I tried this and it was a great combination:

1 beef roast (whichever cut you prefer)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can beef broth
1 package dried onion soup mix
dash of worchestshire sauce
garlic powder

Put all the veggies you want in the bottom of the crock pot. Flour the roast on all sides and rub garlic powder and pepper on the outside. Place in the crockpot. Mix in a bowl the other ingredients. Pour over the top. Cook on low for 8-10 hours.

This turned out to be pretty tasty and mess free and hassle free.

Christmas Baking has Begun!

I started my Christmas baking last night. I don't have much freezer space (I live with two other girls right now) so I have to bake closer to Christmas for lack of storage room. I made Snowalls last night. I tend to name these cookies whatever to occasion calls for. If I were making these for a bridal shower I would most likely call them Mexican Wedding Cakes. So, call them what you want but they also have the same great taste every time they're made.

1 cup butter
½ cup powder sugar
1 tsp vanilla
¼ tsp salt
2 ½ cups flour
¼ cup walnuts, chopped
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine butter, sugar, salt and vanilla. Cream until light and fluffy. Mix in flour and then add the nuts. Roll into 1 inch size balls. Place on an ungreased cookies sheet. Bake for 6-8 Minutes. Roll in powder sugar while hot and then again when cool.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Hawaiian Pork (Again)

Did I tell you what happened last time I made the Hawaiian Pork?

No? Well then, let me counsel you: sealing that tent of foil is so extremely important. I did not seal it well enough last time and our dinner was charred. Ruined. So sad.

But I'm brave, so I'm trying again. This time I checked and double-checked those seals! We should be okay!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

How's this for innovation?

I felt like some corn muffins today. So I jumped over the following hurdles. I don't know the end result yet, but the batter looked just like it's supposed to...

Can't eat wheat, substitute rice flour.
Out of vegetable oil, substitute applesauce.
Out of milk AND can't eat it anyway, substitute water.

I'll keep you posted!!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Turkey Chili

I love the spice of chili, but I don't like beans. It's a texture thing for me. So, I finally have come up with a great recipe sans beans, and it's healthier than regular chili because it is made with ground turkey, not ground beef. Now, I'm sure you could substitute ground beef, but the ground turkey in this is delicious. Hope you all try it and like it!

Turkey Chili

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
2 1/2 pounds ground turkey (85 percent lean) or ground turkey breast (99 percent lean), 2 packages
4 tablespoons dark chili powder, 2 palm fulls
2 tablespoons grill seasoning blend, any brand, 1 palm full
1 tablespoon cumin, 1/2 palm full
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 to 3 tablespoons hot sauce, medium to extra-spicy
1 large onion, quartered
2 large peppers, any color combination, red, green, purple, yellow or orange, chopped
1/2 bottle beer (the alcohol cooks out), about 1 cup
1 (14-ounce) can tomato sauce
1/2 cup smoky barbecue sauce
2 cups corn kernels, optional

Heat a pot over medium to medium high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil, 3 turns of the pan, and the turkey meat. Season the meat with: chili powder, grill seasoning, cumin, Worcestershire and hot sauce. Break up the meat with the back of a wooden spoon into small crumbles.
Chop the onion, reserving 1/4 of it for topping the chili. Brown meat 5 minutes, then add onions and chopped bell peppers and cook 10 minutes more. Add beer and deglaze the pan, scraping up the drippings and cooking off the alcohol. Add tomato sauce and barbecue sauce and bring to a bubble. If using corn kernels add them now. Let chili simmer 10 minutes. Adjust seasonings and heat level to your taste. Remove from heat and serve.

Here are some pictures along the way:

Monday, December 10, 2007

Loaf of Meat

Meatloaf is one of those comfort-type foods that is definitely not picturesque. Good thing I always forget to take pictures!! So I loosely used a couple of different recipe to come up with this recipe that Peter quite enjoyed. So did I for that matter. There are no leftovers. But at least I used the majority of the ground beef before it went bad! I served this with a sweet potato. Love those roots!!

MeatLoaf Anne-Style
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
most of a small onion, minced
1/4 cup(ish) green pepper, minced
1/2 cup ketchup
1 egg (wasn't enough, try 2)
few dashes of Worcestershire sauce

Mix all ingredients together. Form into two loaves. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes.

Some Spaghetti with Meat Sauce on a cold day

Well, this is my first post on here. Thank you so much for inviting me. I was cooking one of my winter favorites today and thought I would share. It is my grandmother's meat sauce recipe. Measurements are not exact, but it is delicious and very yummy on a cold soggy winter day.

Meat Sauce

2 lbs ground beef
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
one handful parsley
1-2 TBS oregano
28 oz. can crushed OR diced tomatoes
14 oz. can of tomato sauce
6 oz. can of tomato paste

Dice up onion and garlic and put in a pan. Add ground beef and brown. Switch to a large pot and add all the rest of the ingredients and turn down to low and let simmer. I feel the longer you simmer, the better it is. Sometimes, though, just for 20 minutes will do if you are in a pinch. Today, I got it done early, and it will simmer for 2 hours.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

It's cold out! I need soup!

I don't remember where I got this recipe. It may have been from the time Danielle Bean had everyone submit easy recipes? I decided to make it because it looked easy. I wasn't sure how it would work -- it kind of looked like I was just throwing in a bunch of stuff that tasted good individually.... would they taste good together?
It did!

Tortellini Soup
9 oz. tortellini
14 oz. can whole tomatoes
1 can navy beans
1 jar artichoke hearts
1 c. chopped onion, 1 pepper and garlic (amount to taste)
1 1/2 large box vegetable broth
1 bag fresh spinach
Heat in crockpot. Serve with Parmesan cheese and sourdough bread.

So this is what the recipe looked like.... not very specific, though! How big of a jar of artichoke hearts? How big is a "large box" of broth? And is the red pepper and garlic TOGETHER a cup, or is it a cup of both? And is that red pepper, like the vegetable, or red pepper flakes?
So... I used real red pepper, and used about half of that, and then threw in a couple of cloves of garlic, chopped up. I think I would use less artichokes next time, too -- I got a big jar, and I think I would get a little jar next time.
But it was good! Anne, perhaps you can throw something in there instead of tortellini so it would fit the regulations?
(Italians wouldn't like this, because the tortellini gets very soft and very un-al dente! Hee hee!)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A good company dinner

Anne, I'm glad you posted! Jill and I were worried we were taking over the blog. I didn't want to post a recipe until someone else had posted! : )

I made these tonight for a some friends. I know you're not supposed to try something new when you're having company, in case it flops... but luckily, these came through wonderfully! They were really easy to make but tasted like I had slaved in the kitchen! : )

Chicken Parm Bundles

4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) Cream Cheese, softened
1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, well drained
1-1/4 cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese, divided
6 Tbsp. Grated Parmesan Cheese, divided
6 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1-1/2 lb.), pounded to 1/4-inch thickness
1 egg
10 RITZ Crackers, crushed (about 1/2 cup)
1-1/2 cups spaghetti sauce, heated

PREHEAT oven to 375ºF. Mix cream cheese, spinach, 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese and 3 Tbsp. of the Parmesan cheese until well blended; spread evenly onto chicken breasts. Starting at one of the short ends of each breast, roll up chicken tightly. Secure with wooden toothpicks, if desired. Set aside.

BEAT egg in shallow bowl or pie plate. Mix remaining 3 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese and the cracker crumbs in separate shallow bowl or pie plate. Dip chicken bundles in egg, then roll in crumb mixture. Place, seam-sides down, in 13x9-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.

BAKE 30 min. or until chicken is cooked through (165ºF). Remove and discard toothpicks, if using. Serve topped with the spaghetti sauce and remaining 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese.

Tyson sells a thin "scallopini" chicken breast that would be perfect to use since it wouldn't need pounding, but I wasn't that smart at the store. I don't have a meat pounder, and my attempts to use other things failed, so I actually just cut the breasts in half and it worked pretty well. I used fresh spinach, diced up, because that was just what I had on hand. I also didn't use Ritz crackers, I used a mixture of crackers that I had -- some toasted butter crackers and some multigrain.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

I've never been to Hawaii, but this is good food!

Hello, ladies! It's been awhile since I've shared a recipe and since I've been up since 4am, I have not only made (and eaten) breakfast this morning but I've got dinner mostly ready to be cooked! I have made and loved this recipe before. I got it from Danielle's Easy Meals thread. So this delicious meal comes to us courtesy of Nikki. Thanks for sharing.

I've made this already once and loved it. The first time I used pork chops, today pork loin. So I don't think it really matters what cut of pork you use. Whatever is handy (or on sale, as in my case) will work.

Hawaiian Pork
serves 6

3-4 lb pork butt or shoulder, trim the fat and cut into large steak size chunks

In a bowl mix:
2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced (have you ever tried to mince ginger? It's quite a tough little root.)
6 cloves of garlic (or more), peeled and minced
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup whiskey

Line 13x9 inch pan with foil. [This is where it gets a bit tricky.] Use a long piece length wise and a long piece width wise, enough to make a tent over the pork. Place chunks of pork in bottom of pan. Spoon sauce over pork. Bring up and fold the opposing side of the foil (to form tent) and seal over the pork in a dome shape (to allow for steaming room). Make sure the foil is tightly sealed. Place in 325 degree oven for 3-4 hours. Nikki says: you can't overcook this. Serve with rice and your choice of veggie.

I have, sadly, never had whiskey available to me (we're too poor) but I'm sure it makes this taste even better, if that's possible. And today I'm actually marinating my pork so that it's ready to throw into a pan and in the oven at lunch time, so we'll see how marinating it affects it.