Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Sarah's Scrumptious Tomato-Dill Soup

"We" just ate this soup for lunch. I say "we" because I ate my bowl while Martin was working on his grilled cheese sandwich and then he had to take the dog out so while he was gone I ate his bowl of soup too. I figured I'd share the wealth!

1 small onion (or half of a medium-large onion) chopped
2 of the big cans of petite diced tomatoes (they are something like 21 oz or so...)
1 box of chicken broth
approx. half a small (not tiny, just small) container of heavy whipping cream.
some salt
some dill
some garlic
some butter

Heat the butter and garlic (not too much garlic) and sautee the onion until it looks right. Clear, but not browned. Add tomatoes (don't drain them!), stir it up, add the chicken broth and heat until it's simmering. Add the cream until it's a nice pink color--but be careful not to have your soup boiling when you add the cream, because it could curdle and although it won't kill you, it looks kind of gross. Simmer for awhile and add some dill. And salt. And pepper if you want it.

Sarah uses an immersion blender at the end to make it less chunky. Good idea!

VERY easy! And it re-heats very well! Enjoy!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Oreo Truffles

I thought I would post these in case anyone was looking for one more treat to make for a Christmas party or a Christmas gift. These things are absolutely incredible. I have never, ever, ever gotten a complaint about these things... they're SO yummy everyone assumes you're a domestic goddess... when they're actually really easy!

They're easy... but time consuming to make. AND MESSY! And mine never look pretty, but I'm getting better. (haha, this picture was definitely not taken in MY kitchen!)

1 pkg. (1 lb. 2 oz.) Oreo Cookies, finely crushed, divided
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
2 pkg. (8 squares each) Baker's Semi-Sweet Chocolate, melted

Mix 3 cups of the cookie crumbs and the cream cheese until well blended. Shape into 42 (1-inch) balls.

Dip balls in melted chocolate; place on waxed paper-covered baking sheet.

Sprinkle with remaining cookie crumbs.

Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm. Store any leftover truffles in tightly covered container in refrigerator.

--I usually put the balls in the refrigerator for a bit before dipping them in the melted chocolate, just to let them firm up a bit. I'm still perfecting this whole process... a few times I think I've made them too big and so I've needed more chocolate for dipping.

Every time they're the hit of the party!!

Bacon Wrapped Smokies - Easy Appetizer

You Will Need:
1 package of smokies (make sure to get smokies, I almost grabbed franks)
1 lbs of bacon (I used about 1/2 a pound so if you already have it, great!)
some brown sugar
thawed out OJ concentrate
tooth picks

Wrap bacon around smokies. I wrapped about 3 smokies to one slice of bacon. Pour a little OJ concentrate over smokies. Sprinkled a generous amount of brown sugar all over them. Baked at 350 for 45 minutes.



These are all over the internet so if you want more info on this recipe just Google it. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


This is my first ever homemade beef soup. And it was the easiest meal I've ever made and quite tasty, too! Recipe from my Fix It and Forget It daily calendar.
Frances' Hearty Vegetable Soup
1 lb round steak, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
14 1/2 oz can diced tomatoes
3 cups water
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
2 onions, sliced
3 celery ribs, sliced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
3 beef bouillon cubes
1/2 t dried basil
1/2 t dried oregano
1 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1 1/2 cups frozen veggies of your choice (suggested: peas, green beans, and corn)
1. Combine first 3 ingredients in slow cooker. Cover and cook on high about 6 hours (I only did 4 hours on low - so obviously timing is variable).
2. Add remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on high for 2 more hours or until meat and veggies are tender (I cranked the heat up to high from low and cooked about 3-4 hours, I think).

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


If you don't have sweetened condensed milk on hand or the dry milk powder stuff, here is an alternative substitute.

One cup evaporated milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 1/4 cup sugar. Stir until dissolved. Let cool.

That "let cool" part. It's important. But otherwise this substitution worked like a gem for my cookies yesterday.

Who knew there was SO MUCH sugar in sweetened condensed milk?! Oh my!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

First Christmas Cookies!

I'm putting this up right now - just in case I don't get any other Christmas cookies made. Although my success with these this morning has made me hopeful!! I got this recipe from my mother, who got it from some magazine. These are delicious! And easy, too!

Saltine Toffee Cookies

Line a cookie sheet with foil. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put two sticks of butter and a cup of brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil for 3 minutes. While that is boiling, line your cookie sheet with saltines - about 2 sleeves of saltines (depending on the size of your cookie sheet). Pour butter mixture over saltines and spread to coat evenly. Place in oven for 5 minutes. Then sprinkle 1 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips over the crackers. Wait about 5 minutes for chocolate to melt, then spread evenly with spatula. Sprinkle 3/4 cup chopped (wal)nuts on top. Cool completely. Stick in fridge for a couple of minutes so the chocolate hardens. Then break into pieces. And enjoy! Can be stored in freezer.

Spaghetti Squash

This has got to be the coolest thing EVER! I was reading through my mom's Moosewood Cookbook (the original version) and they had a spaghetti squash casserole recipe. I had never heard of that before and if you havn't either, well now's the time to check this thing OUT! It's a squash, but when you cook it, the inside s become really stringy, the same texture (although not quite as chewy) as spaghetti noodles. You just run your fork through it and it comes apart in strands. Here's how I ate mine:

-Cut squash in half (careful, it's hard to do)

-Scrap out the seeds

-Put in microwave safe dish with a bit of water in the bottom and put the squash facedown.

-Microwave until soft enough to easily prick with a knife. Mine took a good 10 mins or so. You could also bake it in the oven for 10-15 mins at 350. (Oil the baking sheet with EVOO).

-Put squash on a plate and smoother with home-made tomato sauce and sliced Asiago (mmmm) I put the cheese slices under the sauce so they melted right away.

This half of a squash was a fair size and I ate the WHOLE half! The best part was that since it is squash, it's not starchy like pasta, so I did not feel super full or stuffed. I saved the other half for another dinner.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving List

We're heading up to my sister's house for Thanksgiving so we can meet the newest member of our family! Since Anne is still recovering we're all bringing bits and pieces of the feast so it's easier on her.

Anne's MIL is bringing: the Turkey, yams, and an apple dessert.

Our Mom is up there, so she and Anne are making: green bean casserole, rolls, and stuffing

I'm bringing: the appetizers (family tradition of cheese ball and crackers and chex mix), pumpkin pie, and I saw this so I'm making it, Cranberry Waldorf Salad!

I don't think the cheese ball recipe is up on the blog yet so I'll post that soon.

Happy Thanksgiving to all! Be careful traveling!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I decided to try some new pumpkin recipes to celebrate Fall. My friend Katy told me that Australians think Americans are weird because we tend to only eat pumpkin for dessert. I LOVE pumpkin pie, so I decided to try some other recipes...

Both were fantastic. I don't have a blender, so I couldn't do the last step of blending the soup. But it was still good.

Pumpkin Risotto
Preparation - 10 min | Cooking - 30 min | Yields - 6

  • 4 cups hot water
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 4 teaspoons MAGGI Instant Chicken Flavor Bouillon
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
  • 1 cup LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or chopped fresh sage leaves
  • 1/2 cup (1.5 ounces) shredded Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Ground black pepper to taste
Combine water, wine and bouillon in large measuring cup; set aside.

Heat oil in large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes or until onion is tender. Stir in rice; cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Stir in pumpkin and thyme.

Stir in 1 cup broth mixture. Reduce heat to medium; continue adding broth mixture, 1 cup at a time, allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding more broth. Rice should be tender but firm to the bite and mixture should be creamy. This should take 20 to 25 minutes. Stir in cheese and butter until melted. Season with pepper.

Variation (I didn't do this): For Pumpkin Mushroom Risotto, add 4 cups (about 12 ounces) wild mushrooms (mixture of shiitake, oyster and crimini) with the onion and garlic and proceed with recipe.

Creamy Pumpkin Soup
Preparation - 10 min | Cooking - 25 min | Yields - 5 servings

  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 can (14 1/2 fluid ounces) chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 can (15 ounces) LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
  • 1 can (12 fluid ounces) Evaporated Milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and sugar; cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until soft. Add broth, water, salt and pepper; bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Stir in pumpkin, evaporated milk and cinnamon. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Transfer mixture to food processor or blender (in batches, if necessary); process until smooth. Return to saucepan. Serve warm.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Black Beans

I just had to get this recipe from my great aunt after she served it to me for lunch the other day. I tried to make it from memory, but I botched it. So I'm looking forward to trying again, now that I have the recipe. Now my aunt labeled this soup but didn't serve it that way. She used a slotted spoon and just served the beans and veggies over rice. It was very yummy that way with corn muffins on the side!

Black Bean Soup
1small onion chopped/diced
2 carrots finely chopped/diced
Saute in 1-2 T oil and cook until tender.
Add 2 crushed cloves of garlic.
Saute about 1minute - do not brown (makes the garlic bitter)
2 cans of black beans
1/2 tsp. thyme
1 cup chicken broth /bullion
1can diced tomatoes
Cook over low heat for 5 min or until it starts to bubble.
3 T apple cider vinegar.
dash of Cayenne pepper (optional)
Cook over low heat for about 15min. or longer

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

White Bean & Artichoke Pasta

Sorry I've been neglecting posting! I have an awesome and SUPER simple recipe to make up for it.

Anne, you can make this for charles if he can eat any of it just yet, because it's a pasta dish but, get this folks, has NO cheese! And trust me, it doesn't need it. Not even to sprinkle on top. Mom pulled this out of a Simply Recipes magazine. And Erin, to the best of my knowledge this is also vegan, I know you cook like that sometimes, hopefully you can use this!

White Bean & Artichoke Pasta

Cook 3/4 lb fettuccini pasta using the directions on the box. Don't forget to make your boiling water "salty as the sea"
Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water

In a pan over the stove, heat 1/4 cup EVOO and saute one can of chopped artichokes, one can of white beans (Canelloni) and 2 cloves of chopped garlic. Heat all items through, don't let garlic brown. (Heat everything together at once instead of sauteing the garlic first and burning it to death like I did).

In a food processor, pulse 1 cup of toasted bread to make breadcrumbs. Add 1 tsp of dried oregano. While pulsing, add one tablespoon of EVOO. In the pasta pot, mix drained pasta with the bean/garlic/artichoke mixture and the breadcrumbs. Toss to serve.

The flavors are immense in this, you won't believe it and don't skimp on the EVOO when mixing the beans/artichokes/garlic. You don't even need to sprinkle cheese on top.

yum! (i'm having leftovers for lunch today at work).

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My Christmas List

Well, I have started thinking about my Christmas baking this year. In fact, I've decided already what I will be baking this year - made the shopping list and baking will begin before too long. My main requirement this year was quick and easy, like something I could fit within a nap time.
Hopefully I'll be posting pictures and recipes as I get baking... So here's my list.
Swirled Peppermint Sugar Cookies
Saltine Toffee Cookies
White Chocolate-Covered Pretzels
Microwave Peanut Brittle
Candy-Coated Almonds
Have you made your list yet?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Holiday Treat

Every year at my grandmother's Christmas party, there is a Christmas gift that each family receives. And covets. It is the carmel corn that my aunt Ann makes. And yesterday, my friends, Christmas came early!!

Aunt Ann came to see our new home here since she just lives about an hour away and she brought lunch. And dessert. Carmel corn in the cutest little Halloween bags. I'd share a picture but there are none because it is all very gone now. And I had to fight for my share as Peter kept returning to the pantry the whole time I was visiting!! But rest assured, I had a whole cereal bowl to myself.

So I've never used this recipe yet. But I wouldn't let Aunt Ann leave until she wrote it down for me. Which she graciously did. I've put the ingredients on my Peapod order, but I'm wondering if I'll be able to wait until Wednesday to make a batch of it. I might have to take them off Peapod and make a run to Dominick's. We'll see.

I can't wait for our Christmas treat!

Without further ado....the recipe:

Carmel Corn
26 c popped popcorn (about 1 c unpopped)
1 c butter or margarine, melted (or half and half...whatever)
1 3/4 c light brown sugar
2/3 c light corn syrup
1 t salt
Heat oven to 225 degrees. Heat ingredients on stove top over medium to medium-high heat until it reaches a low boil stirring constantly. This will take about 20 minutes. Then let boil without stirring for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in
1/2 t baking soda
1 t vanilla
Pour over popcorn kept warm in the oven. You'll need either several cookie sheets with sides or a very large roasting pan to hold the popcorn. Stir every 15 minutes or so for 1 hour at 225 degrees. Pour onto wax paper or paper bags to cool.
*Add a cup or two of spanish peanuts, but don't be alarmed when they fall to the bottom of the pan and don't stick to the mix. Aunt Ann said they just don't stick well.
*Aunt Ann recommends using Domino's brown sugar as she has found it to melt the best thus resulting in the best carmel corn ever!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

My First Bird

I posted over on my blog but forgot to here. I roasted my first turkey for no reason other than they are cheap right now and I can get a lot of meals out of them. And... was a success! I had my doubts. It was harder than I thought it was going to be. I ended up not doing a whole lot to it. Rubbed a little bit of a butter-salt mixture on the outside, put some butter where the stuffing would normally go on the inside, and then put a little more butter under the skin but on top of the breast, flipped the bird breast side down and viola - a juicy delicious bird. I was surprised how well it turned out. It didn't look pretty with the breast side being down but once its carved you can't tell anyway. It took about 4 hours to took and then let it sit for about 15 minutes. Dan read how to carve because he wanted to learn how so he did the carving.

Pictures to boot!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Fall Treat

I used the recipe that's linked over at Bless Us O Lord and I think it needs some tweaking, if you want it to taste like an sbux latte but it was still a good drink. The cookies were fun to make. We made them together last night and enjoyed our drinks and cookies while watching a movie.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Fall Food

I like this recipe. It's relatively simple and something new to do with extra winter squash. I got this recipe from my mother in law and altered it to suit our needs. So I will post the recipe as I made it with the other options below.
It doesn't really photograph that well, but it taste good.

Squash Puff
3 cups cooked winter squash (I used acorn)
1/4 c rice milk
2 T flour
1/4 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1 T orange zest
2 beaten eggs
2 T oil
2 T brown sugar + extra for topping

Mix together the milk, eggs, oil, and orange zest. Then add flour salt, pepper, and brown sugar. Mix again. Finally mix in the squash. Dump it all into a buttered 1 quart casserole dish and place dish inside another pan that has 1/2 inch or so of hot water (see my two pans). Sprinkle additional brown sugar on top, if so inclined. Bake at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes or until firm in the center.

*Use evaporated milk or light cream or regular milk in place of the rice milk. Apparently any sort of milkish product will do!
*Use melted butter instead of oil.
*You may want to use less pepper. This was a lot for this dish, but I can't decide if I like it or not. It definitely gives an added kick, so you'll just have to use your own judgement.

To cook squash easily: Pierce squash through with knife a couple of times, then microwave for about 5 minutes. When it is soft enough, cut in half and scoop out the seeds. Place skin side up, squash side down on a plate and microwave for an additional 6-8 minutes, until easily pierced with a fork. Then scoop out the squash and leave the skin behind!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

More Vegetable From the Farmer Goodness

Matt and I tossed around the idea of getting a CSA box this year, but we either got lazy about signing up or just plain forgot, I don't remember which! It turns out to be a good thing, though, since we have several friends who are also "just us two" who DID sign up for boxes, and they ALWAYS have WAY too much stuff. Which they then give to us! :) We've been having fun roasting squash with butter and brown sugar, stuffing bell peppers with hummus, and, when at our wit's end with a pile of slightly tired veggies staring at us, making "wilted vegetable soup"!

I just turned off the burner under my latest creation: 2 bell peppers, seeded and chopped, 1 onion, diced, 1 bunch "teenage" celery, chopped, all sauteed together in 2 tbs butter until onions are tender. Add a few pinches of flour, stir until veggies brown up a bit. Toss into 3 c. water and 3 c. veggie stock with 3 chopped carrots, a handful of chopped bok choy stalks, and a cup of brown rice. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and stir occasionally for a half an hour, or until rice is just tender. Turn off heat and add the rest of the bunch of spinach that didn't make it into salads, and VOILA: Wilted Vegetable Soup with Brown Rice! This one will go into the freezer for post-baby meals!


Monday, October 20, 2008

This is just to say: yes, you really can make chili out of anything! I threw some leftover barbecued chicken breasts and some leftover Italian chicken from our dinner out into a pot. I added the remainder of my homemade chicken stock, about a cup, and a cup of water + 1 bouillon cube. I threw in a can of diced Italian tomatoes and a can of rinsed black beans. Add some chili powder and cumin. A dash of oregano for good measure. I put the pot on low and let it heat to a simmer. I simmered mine for almost 2 hours. And it turned quite good. Who knew?

Beef Vegetable Soup

After advertising my Beef Veggie Soup on my regular blog and getting a couple of requests for the recipe, here it is! (Seriously nothing special. Basically just a bunch of canned veggies in beef broth.)

These are approximate amounts of what I use when I make a regular pot for dinner and a few leftovers. If I want to make enough for dinner and a good amount to freeze, I "double" everything and omit the potatoes because potatoes don't freeze well.

-A couple cups of water in a big pot
-1 pkg. of stew meat (I cut mine into smaller chunks so it seems like it's more meat. I'm cheap.)
-a handful of baby carrots cut up into slices or chunks
-one small onion, or half of a big onion, chopped into small pieces
-a handful of potatoes, peeled and chopped into big pieces (Especially if you plan to simmer your soup all day, you want the potato chunks a little thicker, otherwise they will boil away.)

Get all that stuff chopped and in the pot while the water is starting to boil. Along with all those things I add
-a good helping of salt.

Now the canned stuff... (dump the whole can of everything--don't drain!)

-1 can of lima beans (half cans are cheaper and if you don't particularly like beans, that's the way to go.)
-1 can cut green beans
-1 can petite diced tomatoes (sometimes I use two cans because I like tomatoey soups, but I drain the second can.)
-1 can whole-kernel corn (sometimes I use only 2/3 or 1/2 the can)

Bring it all to a boil and add
-2 cubes of beef boullion.

I don't typically add spices to my veggie soups. I have some general Greek seasoning that I sometimes toss in, and I have some Tony's Creole seasoning that I used in this batch. But really, salt and pepper (I don't even always use pepper) are enough.

Get it boiling nicely, then simmer for some hours until the carrots and potatoes are soft.

The end!

Thursday, October 16, 2008


I did make soup last night, but I kind of altered the recipe a bit. And well, it was pretty gross. But I remembered to take pictures! So I think I'll post the pictures, along with the original recipe which I'm sure is just delicious!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I was craving soup on this cold and rainy day. We had a baked chicken last night, and I didn't know what to do with it. But, I threw some stuff together and made a great chicken tortilla soup for tonight. I don't know if the kids will eat it, heaven forbid stuff "mix" on their plate, but it is pretty darn tasty. Hope you all try it and like it.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast cooked and shredded
1 10 oz can diced tomatoes with green chilis (rotel)
1 10z can diced tomatoes
1 10oz can enchilada sauce
1 medium onion chopped
1 clove garlic minced
2 cans chicken broth (4 cups)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 bay leaf
10 oz. frozen sweet corn

Mix all ingredients in the crockpot and simmer all day. Crush up some tortilla chips and put in a bowl. Pour soup on top. Top with shredded mexican blend cheese and any other toppings you like.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Happy, Happy!

I have been in the kitchen quite a bit, but I've not been posting because I haven't made anything that hasn't already been posted on some cooking blog. But I am cooking and making new dairy-free meals for my family.

These are the Happy Cookie Bars that I've written of before.

And of course I haven't taken any pictures of my other cooking ventures, which include: Pumpkin Cream Muffins (Peter raved about these and declared them "better than Panera's"), pumpkin bread (moist and yummy - I doubled the recipe and left the nuts out - I also used vegetable oil instead of olive oil), Dirty Rice (I don't know how this tastes because I made it for dinner and ended up heating up some pizza bites for myself instead, but Peter said it was good), and Irish Shepherd's Pie (this is a good comfort dish).

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Acorn Squash Quesadillas

Here's a unique way to use a fall vegetable.
I'm linking this directly from Deb at I made it and used a squash that was probably too large, so i saved 1/3 of it for another meal. I didn't have jalapenos so I just added some crushed red pepper instead. Also I added spinach and used Muenster cheese like she suggests. I put avocado/sour cream and some sliced red onion on it and just smeared it all together. it was quite good. :)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is the best, no the ULTIMATE, chocolate chip cookie recipe! I made these yesterday so Dan could have an after work treat when he got home. I've been using it for about 4 years now. I do break one rule I have when making these, Crisco. I'm normally a butter girl but that's what the recipe calls for and if it isn't broke, I don't try to fix it.

3/4 c Butter flavored Crisco
1 1/4 c Firmly packed brown sugar
2 tb Milk
1 T Vanilla
1 Egg
1 3/4 c All-purpose flour
1 tsp Salt
3/4 tsp Baking soda
1 c Semi-sweet chocolate chips (I use the whole bag and I use milk chocolate chips)
1 c Pecan pieces (I've never put these in)

Heat oven to 375. Cream butter flavor Crisco, brown sugar, milk, and vanilla in large bowl. Blend until creamy. Blend in egg. Combine flour, salt, and baking soda. Add to creamed mixture, gradually. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Drop rounded Tablespoonfuls (about 2 measuring tablespoons) of dough 3 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 375 8 to 10 minutes for chewy cookies (they will look light and moist with bottoms looking done) DO NOT OVERBAKE or 11 to 13 minutes for crisp cookies. Cool on baking sheet 2 minutes before moving to cooling rack.

In Need of Recipe

Does anyone have a good party meatball recipe? I need one for two reasons. First, they sound really good to me so I want to make them. Second, Joy and Jacob are staying with us Saturday night due to a wedding being closer to Lafayette than their home so I thought I could make meatball subs for Sunday afternoon.

Help a pregnant lady out, will ya?

15-Minute Chicken and Rice

1 T oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 can cream of chicken
1 1/2 c water
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp pepper
2 c minute rice, uncooked
2 c broccoli florets, frzn or fresh

Heat oil in skillet, add chicken and cook until browned. Remove chicken and add soup, water and spices, stir. Heat to a boil. Stir in rice and Broccoli. Top with chicken. Season chicken with more paprika and pepper as desired. Cover and cook on low for 5 minutes or until rice and broccoli is tender.

Tips after cooking: Cut chicken into 1 inch cubs - chicken can come out dry and this will help. The rice will probably take longer than 5 minutes to cook.

Recipe from Campbell's

Monday, September 29, 2008


My sister has posted this recipe before, but ladies, it is SO good! The recipe orginally came from the book Saving Dinner, and I passed it on to Laura when I made her a little shower gift of favorite recipes. The best thing about it is how easy it is to make ahead. I served this dish for our guests yesterday. I made the cornbread and rice to go along with it the night before. So all I had to do was heat everything up, and dinner was on the table in less than five minutes!

I just wanted to recommended it again as the perfect company dish. It's so flavorful. Do note the cook time though: basically you just need to cook it long enough for the chicken to be cooked through, which actually only took about 2-3 hours for my slower cooker on low. But I cooked it another hour or so to be sure the flavors blended. This dish doesn't really suffer from cooking longer than is required because there is plenty of liquid. So whether you get everything in the pot early or late, it's going to be a winner.

My guest even asked for the recipe!! :o)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Snack for Birth Class :)

We have a supplemental class presented by our midwife for her "Fall Clients" this Saturday, and EVERYONE is supposed to bring a snack to share. (I'm excited, because I LOVE meeting people who are more or less as far along as we are, PLUS I can't wait to see what all the other mamas are cooking and baking!) We received a reminder flier in the mail last week, repeating the number of people who will be needing a shared snack, and adding, "Please don't everyone bring a veggie plate!" :) So I'm bringing these::

Teresa F.'s Grab-n-Go Breakfast Cookies.

1/2 c. softened butter or margarine
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1/4 c. granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tbsp. vanilla
1 14 oz. can crushed pineapple, drained well*
3 c. quick-cook rolled oats
1 c. whole-wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 c. raisins, or dried blueberries, or cranberries**
1 c. walnuts, or pecans, or almonds, chopped***

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

Beat butter and sugars with mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla, and beat to combine. Add pineapple to mixture, and beat to combine.

In large bowl whisk together flour, oats, cinnamon, and baking soda. Add flour mixture to the egg mixture, and beat just enough to combine. Mix in dried fruit and nuts by hand.

Drop 1/3 c. of dough on cookie sheet, leaving 2 inches between each cookie. With a damp hand press cookies to 1/2" thickness. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes. These freeze well.

*I don't like pineapple, so I substituted some canned peaches that I ran through the blender real quick.

**I, for whatever reason, was out of raisins, so I chopped up some dried apricots, threw in a handful of dried cranberries, and topped it off with some dried coconut.

***Half cup of chopped pecans, half cup chocolate chips. I couldn't help it...but I think this time I might make half without nuts, just in case of allergies...maybe replace with seeds of some kind...

(Also going to add a few tsps of ground up flax seed...) If you want to make the cookies with less cholesterol, 3 tablespoons of water + 1 tbs ground flax seed = one egg. If you want to go completely vegan, replace the butter with "prune puree which will also obviously reduce the amount of fat. To use, puree 1/2 cup of pitted prunes with 1/4 cup of water. You will want to reduce the amount used, or the final product may be too moist. If the recipe calls for a half cup use 1/3 cup instead. You may also want to add a little oil, maybe a tablespoon per cup of fat needed, because a little fat goes a long way in taste and texture". I convert my baked goods to vegan when we'll be sharing with my In Laws, or with older people, just to make the goodies more cholesterol-friendly.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Crock-Pot Breakfast

For crock-pot lovers, go over here to find breakfast recipes. Something I've never seen before.

Pumpkin Cream Muffins

It's our turn to bring snacks to our child birthing class tonight so I thought I'd make a fall treat! They are now one of Dan's favorite.

1-1/3 c. sugar, divided
1-1/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
3 eggs, divided
3/4 c. oil
1 c. canned pumpkin
8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened

1/4 c. sugar
1/4 t. cinnamon
3 T. all-purpose flour
2 T. butter

Combine one cup sugar and flour, along with cinnamon, baking soda, salt, 2 eggs, oil and pumpkin; mix and set aside. In a separate bowl, blend together cream cheese, remaining sugar and remaining egg. Pour pumpkin mixture into greased muffin cups, filling 2/3 full. Place a heaping teaspoon of cream cheese filling in the center of each muffin. Sprinkle each with one teaspoon topping mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes. Makes 1-1/2 dozen muffins.

This recipe comes from Gooseberry Patch Pumpkin Cookbooklet #15.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


I have recently decided that pasta with Prego sauce and ground beef will be a weekly meal at our house. Why? Because it's a relatively easy meal to make, and it's one that we can and do all eat! No dairy or other scary things. Just straight up good food - even to the toddler's tastebuds!

Do you have any other regular old meals like this without dairy that I'm overlooking that a toddler might eat?

Peter and I both struggle with the fact the Charles has this allergy or sensitivity. Despite the many times we've watched him break out in hives from it, it still seems surreal to us. While we were eating pizza the other day, I was sharing my dairy-free crust with him, but I was so tempted to give him a bite of the real stuff. It seems so harmless. It seems so impossible that cheese can actually make someone sick. But I'm naive and new to this world of allergies. I try to keep a real respect for his allergies as we know them. I have a consultation with an allergist set up for next week, so hopefully we'll have a little professional guidance on this journey...

I also just checked out this book from the library. Though I don't intend to do a month's worth of cooking. I do want to get some dairy-free meals in the freezer. The recipes in this book look good. So hopefully I'll be sharing some with you soon.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A Birthday Celebration

I had never made a German Chocolate Cake before. All the bakery German Chocolate Cakes I'd ever had had been dry, crumbly, and, frankly, very disappointing to a chocolate lover like me! I'd always assumed that Germans preferred their chocolate cakes dry and crumbly...until now...

We had a friend in town last night. She recently had a birthday, AND baby was wanting some cupcakes, so I thought I'd kill two birds with one stone and make her a birthday cake for her visit! I asked her what her favorite cake was, and groaned inwardly when she said "German Chocolate!" I'd thought my friends would have better taste... :P

Ah, well, she's a good friend, and if she wanted a "German Chocolate Cake", a "German Chocolate Cake" she would get! And it's off to Google!

As it turns out, a German Chocolate Cake is not German in origin at all! It's named after the brand of chocolate used in the baking of the cake! Huh. Maybe there's hope for this cake, after all.

Here's how it turned out:

It. Was. DELICIOUS. So moist and CHOCOLATEY.

And here is the recipe, which can also be found by clicking the link above: (Note: I don't have THREE layer pans, I have two. So, I made a two layer cake, and six cupcakes, five of which I gave to the neighbours after the hubby came over to help Matt unclog the shower. Ugh. I can't wait to move.)

German Chocolate Cake
1 pkg. Baker's German’s sweet chocolate (4 oz.)
1/2 cup Water, boiling
1 cup Butter or margarine
2 cup Sugar
4 Eggs, separated
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
2 cups Flour, all-purpose
1 teaspoon Baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 cup Buttermilk
Coconut-pecan frosting

1. Melt chocolate in water and cool.

2. Cream butter and
3. Beat in egg yolks.
4. Stir in vanilla and
5. Mix flour, soda and salt. beat in flour
mixture, alternately with buttermilk.
6. Beat egg whites
until stiff peaks form; fold into batter. Pour batter
into three 9-inch layer pans, lined on bottoms with
waxed paper.
7. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or
until cake springs back when lightly pressed in
center Cool 15 minutes; remove and cool on rack.


1-14 oz. can of condensed milk such as Eagle Brand
½ Cup water
3 egg yolks
1 t vanilla
1/2 C butter (1 stick)
1 1/3 c Pecans; chopped reserve 10 whole pecan halves for garnish.
1 ¾ c Angel flake coconut
(If you can not find eagle brand condensed milk then use this substitute
mix 1 cup + 2 T (250 gr.) powdered milk mix with 1/2 C water and 3/4 C granulated sugar
Cook the milk eggs and water over a double boiler until thickened.
Cook it over direct heat if you use complete concentration.
Then add the vanilla and butter and whisk in until it is melted and
Add the chopped pecans and coconut.

CHOCOLATE FROSTING (Optional) {Erin's Note: Or, not so optional. :P}

1 stick or 1/2 Cup (125 grams ) butter , softened
9 squares (50 ml) Baker's German's chocolate, melted and cooled
1 1/2 cups (350 gr.)powdered sugar
1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla
1 1/2 TBS (45 ml) milk
for a richer chocolate flavor, add cocoa powder. or buy more German's chocolate
Mix butter and chocolate in mixing bowl. Stir in powdered sugar.
Beat vanilla and milk until smooth and of spreading consistency.
Divide the filling evenly between the 3 cakes putting the 1st layer
down, Then spread the filling evenly
Repeat with the other layer.
Frost the side of the cake only.

It sounds like a lot of work, and I suppose it is, but it was really a lot of fun!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Another Pork Marinade

I am a big fan of marinades. I feel like sometimes that is all I post. Well, this one is FANTASTIC. I've used it for years, had it tonight, and felt you all needed to try it. I bought 1 package of pork tenderloin. In these packages, there are really 2 small tenderloins totally about 2 lbs. I was able to get mine for about a total of $8, so really not that expensive. Use this marinade..the longer you can marinade it the better, but today I only was able to do it for 6 hours. It is delicious. Enjoy

1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup oyster sauce (found on oriental aisle)
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp red pepper (i use the flakes, but you can use ground)
2 TBS brown sugar (today I didn't have any, I used white and it was fine)
1 TBS ginger
1 TBS minced garlic (I of course used much more)
1 TBS ketchup
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Mix all ingredients and marinade. You can either grill it or bake it. If you grill it, use indirect medium heat and do 20 minutes, flip, then 20 minutes. If you bake....preheat oven to 350. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes. Place foil on top unsealed for 1 - 1 1/2 hours on 375. Continue turning during cooking.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

I had my first hot cocoa of the season this morning in our chilly dining room with all the windows flung wide open! Marshmellows and all - it was delicious. I am looking forward to the warmer food that chilly weather brings.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Tip for the Mamas-to-be*...

My midwife says I'm eating too much fruit and not enough vegetables. And that I should be eating the veggies raw. And that I need more Vitamin C in my diet. Unfortunately, I'd developed an aversion to raw veggies, and cutting out oranges meant LESS Vitamin C, so I had to get creative!

Bell Peppers (blech :P) have TONS of Vitamin C in them, apparently. And since we pregnant ladies also need TONS of protein, I've been snacking on "Hummus"-stuffed bell peppers!

For the "hummus" drain 1 fifteen ounce can garbanzo beans, reserving liquid. Add the beans with 1/3 c. olive oil to blender, with garlic to your taste (I used to be the Garlic Queen, but now I'm very sensitive to it!) and blend away until smooth, adding the reserved liquid as needed. Drizzle a little lemon, and salt to taste, over the top of the hummus and stir it in, and stuff it into your washed and halved peppers.

Vitamin C-Protein snackables!

*Well, and for anyone who needs more Vitamin C, less fruit, and more protein in their diet! :P

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Louisiana-Style Picadillo

It's been so long since I've posted-- partly because I didn't have a kitchen to cook in while I lived in Rome. We had an amazing cook, Anna, who fed us very well. But now I'm back to cooking for myself. And to honor my new Southern dwelling, I give you a dish that calls for okra. Hey, I have to fit in around here...

I'm not sure what makes this "Louisiana-Style." Picadillo usually comes from Spanish-speaking countries, and it's usually ground beef, tomatoes, and a variety of other ingredients. The mom of one of my friends, Marisa, makes an amazing picadillo, so when I was browsing through a cookbook and saw this, I decided to try it.

Prep-time: 30 minutes

2 c uncooked instant white rice
2 1/2 c water
1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 c chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 c sliced okra (or 1 10 oz pkg frozen cut okra, thawed)
1/2 t salt
1/2 t ground red pepper (cayenne)
1/4 t pepper
1 (15 or 15.5 oz) can kidney beans, drained, rinsed
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes seasoned with green peppers and onion, undrained

1. Cook rice in 2 cups of water as directed on packaged. Cover to keep warm.

2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium-high heat until beef is thoroughly cooked, stirring frequently. Drain.

3. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup of water and all remaining ingredients except rice. Cover; simmer 10 minutes or until okra is tender, stirring occasionally. Serve okra mixture over rice. If desired, sprinkle with sliced green onions.

**Of course, I didn't follow directions (what's new?). When I was at the grocery store, all I saw on my list was "red pepper." I didn't remember what recipe I needed it for, so I thought it was a red pepper... like the vegetable. Well, for some reason, the grocery store didn't have red peppers, so I bought an orange one. When I got home and realized my mistake, I just decided to dice to orange pepper and throw it in when I was cooking the meat, onions, and garlic. And you know what? It was really good!! This is one of those dishes you can throw anything in! And, I'm sure it's one of those dishes that will be great leftover, as the flavors mesh together... mmmm....

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

BBQ Anything!

I'm not sure if I've posted this recipe before on my blog or on this one, but here it is. This recipe comes from my neighbor Tara who is a goddess in the kitchen. I called her one day after searching and searching for a bbq sauce recipe that wasn't spicy and didn't call for alcohol as all the ones I was finding online and in my cookbooks did. I know I can always call Tara when I need a recipe for something that excludes the alcohol, because she's Mormon and doesn't ever use it!! She's got loads of alternative recipes. Anyway, here it is:

3/4 c Ketchup
1 c Water
2 T Vinegar (white)
1 pkg. Onion Soup (the dry kind, I use Lipton, and sometimes I use Beefy Onion)
1/4 c Honey(I think you can substitute sugar)
4 T Soy Sauce
2 T Worcestershire Sauce

You just mix it all up in a bowl and pour it over whatever you're making. It's not a thick sauce, but it does thicken slightly when you cook it. The first thing I made it for was barbecue chicken wings. I just put the wings and the sauce together in a cast iron skillet on the stove top. Today I'm making it with pulled pork in the crock pot. But I imagine you could use it for whatever dish you want!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Birthday Waffles...

...for my sweetie
Dan loves the Cubs so I thought he would enjoy this. The waffles aren't homemade. I wanted to make the kind that sit over night but his parents had us out last night and we got home too late for my tired body to do any cooking. He loved his surprise all the same!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Catching Up

At my sister's request, I finally have added back our cooking links. Please let me know if they are any good ones that I'm missing and you'd like to have up there. I'm sure I missed some. I'd be happy to add more.

My rotating the same meals about every two weeks did not work out for us. Maybe this was because I tried to start right before our move. I don't know. But it was helpful in that I am finally figuring out what our family eats weekly and in what amounts. Which means that even though my meals may vary, the ingredients and the shopping list stay pretty standard.

I've also learned to stick to Aldi's for most of our stuff. I can't swing the prices at the other stores around here. At least so far. There are lots of little side markets that I'd like to try: Billy's Fruit Market and Pan's Foods to name a few. They intrigue me. But I'm too much of a wimp to venture in on my own.

Maybe when my mom comes back to visit...

Farmer's Market Pizza

Hello, again!

It's been awhile since I've posted either here OR on my own cooking space, mostly since I've been in a food-rut: protein, protein, protein!! There's only so much I can do with the, any veggies or fruit I've been eating have been pretty much straight from my shopping bag to my tummy, since fresh, organic produce from the Farmer's Market just really doesn't need to be improved on, in my book! :)

HOWEVER. We had a visitor this week, and I wanted her to meet some of my local friends, AND see some of the local color, so we downtown to meet some folks at the Thursday Farmer's Market, where we picked out some fresh veggies, and took them home to put on homemade pizza!

Here are the toppings we came up with:

Zebra-striped eggplant
, summer squash, pepperoni and (sauteed) garlic.

Zebra-striped eggplant, mushroom and bell pepper.

Summer squash, banana pepper and pepperoni. (In the words of our houseguest: "It wasn't too hot...more 'tingly' than spicy!")

It was fun to try different combinations of these delicious (and beautiful!) veggies! It's a great way to get everyone involved in the cooking process, and I imagine it would make kids more enthusiastic about eating their vegetables! ;)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I Forgot to Post Here...

...that I haven't been posting because I've joined the ranks of Anne, Erin, and Jill in being pregnant! I'm still in the first trimester and there seems to be a new change everyday and from what I hear I might as well get used to that.

Happy Pregnancy!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A Fav

This is the newest recipe posting at Ten Minutes to Digest. Seven Layer Cookie Bar. And while I've never made this particular recipe Danielle Bean has had a similiar one posted for quite some time, called Happy Cookie Bars, which I have made...repeatedly. These are absolutely delicious, not at all healthy, and very easy to make. Seriously good sweet treat here. And now, of course, I want to make my own...I'm just not certain I can justify that trip to the grocery store right before we move...too bad.

Maybe next week (at which point we'll be in our new place...crazy)!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Dinner Tonight

Homemade macaroni and cheese.

Possibly the ultimate comfort food.

What's your favorite?

A New Food Blog

I definitely need to get our list of links back up.

And I will someday soon.

I'm going to start with this new link. Hope you enjoy it. I haven't surfed through all the archives or anything but the few posts that I have read, I really liked.

Peach & Blueberry Cobbler Delight

This recipe is from Simply in Season originally, although I tweaked it a bit because I realized halfway through that I was out of milk. I've loved everything I've tried out of this cookbook so far, but I'm still getting used to how it's written! It makes sense the way the ingredients/directions are arranged, but I keep skipping steps for some reason - I guess because my eyes automatically fall on the ingredients first, and the directions later, like a traditional recipe, and I miss some of the directions. But I still love the book. Anyway, enough babbling. Here's the recipe! (traditionally formatted)

Peach & Blueberry Cobbler Delight (adapted from Simply in Season)

1/2 cup water
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch

3 cups peaches (I used 3 very ripe peaches - I think next time I'd use 4)
1 1/2 cups blueberries (I put in about 2 handfuls)
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice

1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup cold, unsalted butter
1/2 cup boiling water
cinnamon and sugar to sprinkle on top

Mix first three ingredients in a bowl. Add the fruit and stir to coat. Stick bowl in the microwave for about 1 1/2 - 2 minutes to warm it up and thicken it, stirring occasionally. Stir in lemon juice. Place in a 2-quart casserole dish.

Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt in a bowl. Cut in butter like you're making a pie crust. When it's all crumbly, pour in the boiling water and stir until you've got a dough. Drop in spoonfuls over the fruit, then sprinkle the whole thing with cinnamon and sugar.

Bake for about 35-40 minutes or until bubbly and the crust is baked through (the recipe says 30 minutes, but my crust was still raw at this point...but you can adjust it according to your oven).

You can also use other fruit, like blackberries or raspberries. Served warm with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream, this is a really great summertime treat!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I Swear I've Been in the Kitchen!

The strawberry pie I've perfected this summer.

Summer Time Tortellini Salad

And our set table for our first dinner guests, which were my parents.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Baked Chimichangas

Growing up in New Mexico, I always loved to eat chimichangas. Traditionally they are deep fried, and while I do fry them occasionally, this baked version is obviously healthier. It is also easy for me to prep ahead of time and then leave it for my husband to pop in the oven for dinner while I am at work (which is what he will be doing tonight!)


2 1/2 c cooked chicken breast
1 box Spanish Rice (I really like Rice - a - Roni)
1 - 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1- 4.5 oz can diced green chiles
Shredded cheese
1 pkg tortillas
1 can refried beans
Sour cream
1 fresh tomato, chopped
Olive Oil

1. Cook rice according to directions on box. This will usually mean mixing in the can of tomatoes. This is also when I add the chile.
2. When rice is cooked, combine some of the rice, chicken, beans, cheese, and salsa. Warm a tortilla for 25 seconds in microwave. Spoon mixture into the middle of the tortilla. Fold sides and ends of tortilla, and roll it up. Place seam side down into a 13x9x2in baking dish coated with cooking spray. Then lightly brush chimichanga with olive oil.
3. Continue making the chimichangas until you have filled your baking dish, placing one chimichanga right next to the other.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for about a half hour or until heated through and golden brown.
5. Top the chimichanga with salsa, fresh tomatoes, cheese, and sour cream.

Note: You could actually use any kind of meat: ie. beef instead of chicken. You can also use any type of beans: ie. black or pinto instead of refried. The great thing about chimichangas is that you can fill them with anything you like. You can also top them with anything: tomatoes, onions, lettuce, sour cream, etc. Also, whenever I mix the meat, salsa, cheese, rice, and beans, I do not measure anything. I kind of add equal parts, taste, and see if it needs anymore of one ingredient or another.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Chocolate Chip Cookies

This isn't a recipe post but rather a reading recommendation. The chocolate-chip cookie is 80 years old, and the New York Times had a insightful article about what makes the ultimate chocolate chip cookie.

I thought you all would like it. My mouth was watering from beginning to end.
Maybe we should all post our favorite cookie recipes and trade them around. I know my sister makes a mean chocolate chip - oatmeal cookie, so good it makes your knees buckle, but we've never been able to get the real recipe out of her. You would think being a Dominican would make her more honest, but not when it comes to sharing her secret recipe!
As for me, I usually use the recipe on the back of the Toll House morsels bag. Uninspiring and uncreative? Maybe. Tried and true? Definitely. But I think this article has given me the motivation to broaden my horizons. If nothing else, it's given me a great excuse to bake cookies.
What's your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe?

Busy Bee

My sister is clamoring for recipe posts, as she knows that I have been spending plenty of time in the kitchen. But if I'm spending all my time in the kitchen, it's hard to find time to post. In fact, I had better find a new project to keep myself busy soon or our freezer will be stuffed full of baked goods that we don't need to eat!

Yesterday, I made pudding for Charles with rice milk. He did not like it. So my search for calcium-filled foods that this child will actually eat continues.

I also made lemon bread and raisin scones. Both of these recipes come from Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book. Every scone I've ever purchased as been very dense. But these came out very, very light. Maybe because I used rice milk instead of the whipping cream called for. In any case, the dough was extremely difficult to handle, but they baked up nicely. The lemon bread is delicious and refreshing. I was too lazy to unwrap it for the picture though.
Lemon Bread
1 3/4 c flour
3/4 c sugar
2 t bakin powder
1/4 t salt
1 beaten egg
1 c milk
1/4 c oil or melted butter
2 T lemon zest
1 T lemon juice
1/2 c chopped nuts
2 T lemon juice
1 T sugar
1. Grease the bottom and 1/2 inch sides of an 8x4x2 inch loaf pan. In medium bowl stir together the flour, the 3/4 c sugar, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center and set aside.
2. In another medium bowl, combine egg, milk, oil, zest, and 1 T lemon juice. Add egg mixture to flour mixture all at once. Stir until just moistened. Fold in nuts. Spoon batter into pan.
3. Bake at 350 for 50-55 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. If desired, stir remaining lemon juice and sugar together and brush on top of loaf while still in pan. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack. Wrap and store overnight before serving (somehow I never complete this part...).
I don't have the inspiration right now to type up the scone recipe. Maybe later?

Thursday, July 3, 2008


OK, I'm kinda cheating a little, by only providing a link, but it's been a LONG time since I posted, and I wanted to pop in and share a new favorite! Peach pie!!
Here's the recipe, at

The only thing I do differently is I line the bottom of the pie crust with dried apricots, to soak up some of the juice from the peaches and keep the bottom from being TOO soggy.

Just in case anyone was wondering what to make for a delicious Fourth of July dessert!!

(I'm also going to make an angel food cake to serve with blueberries, raspberries and whipped cream!)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

More Veggies

This is kind of similar to Jill's post, but I'm so excited about it! I don't know how I've never cooked like this before. It's so easy, so healthy, and so tasty!

I'm making a variety of this dish for my grandparents on Thursday, so I wanted to try it out first, and it was a roaring success!

You'll see there are many seasoning varieties, and I want to try them all! I substituted all dry herbs for the fresh herbs called for - using a teaspoon instead of a tablespoon. I'll just give the recipe as it's written and you can play around with it as you like.

Roasted Summer Vegetables from Simply in Season (my favorite cookbook!)

8-10 cups fresh vegetables (options include: summer squash such as zucchini, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, green beans, red or green peppers, mild chili peppers, carrots, eggplants, mushrooms, sugar snap peas, or fennel) Cut into bite-size pieces for even cooking time (slice longer-cooking veggies smaller and thinner than fast cooking ones). Toss with one of the season options below. Then spread seasoned veggies in a thin layer on a baking sheet and bake in preheated oven at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.

To use as main dish: Served over cooked penne pasta, wild rice, or couscous and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
To use as salad: Cool veggies (or use leftovers) and 2 c diced tomatoes, 3 oz feta cheese and additional dressing as needed to lettuce.

Seasoning 1:
3 T fresh basil, chopped
2 T fresh cilantro, chopped
1 1/2 T fresh thyme, chopped
1 T olive oil
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1-4 garlic cloves, minced

Seasoning 2:
1 T olive oil
1 t chili powder
1/2 t salt
1/4 t dried thyme
1/8 t pepper

Seasoning 3:
3/4 c Italian or vinaigrette dressing

Seasoning 4: (good with onion, eggplant, zucchini, green pepper and tomatoes)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 c olive oil
2 T each fresh thyme, oregano, basil, chopped
2 T balsamic vinegar
1T Dijon mustard
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper

Monday, June 30, 2008

Fast and Easy Veggie Skillet

I love summer food, especially the vegetables that are abundant and cheap. This is a little meal that I kind of pulled together at the last minute, but I had gone to the store that day and picked up all the vegetables. It's yummy and easy and you can basically use whatever vegetables you want. If you want you can even skip the pasta and add some grilled chicken or shrimp.

Easy Veggie Skillet

2-3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion (you can use the whole onion if you want)
1 zucchini
1 yellow squash
1 green pepper
1 red pepper
1/2 pint grape tomatoes
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/2 box penne or rotini pasta
1/2-1 cup Parmesean cheese

Dice up all the vegetables and saute them (all except the tomatoes) in the oil for about 5 minutes until they're soft. Add the tomatoes toward the end of the 5 minutes. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the top and stir to coat the vegetables. Meanwhile cook pasta and drain. Preheat oven to 350. In a quart baking dish combine the cooked pasta and vegetables, sprinkle generously with Parmesean cheese (as much as you want) and stick it in the oven for about 20 minutes to warm everything up and melt the cheese.

Quick Bread

I purchased some chocolate chips for cheap yesterday from Aldi's and thought I'd put them to use today. I didn't want cookies though. I wanted a quick bread. I found one alright! It's quick to make and quite delicious.
A note: Do watch the cooking time. My pans were a bit smaller than called for so I expected a longer cooking time, but in fact both of my loaves were finished in 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees.
Edited to add another note: after about 20 minutes, I had to cover the top with foil to prevent over-browning.
I chose to freeze one of the loaves so I'm interested to see how that turns out when we defrost and reheat it.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Something New (again)

So I did the meal planning, and it worked quite well, with unforseen additional benefits (besides my peace of mind). However, I'm trying something new already. I have read in a couple of different food threads on Danielle Bean's blog about wives who cook the same rotation of meals weekly. So we're going to try something of that variety over here.

Peter and I came up with a list of 14 main dishes that we really enjoy. So we have a set meal plan for two weeks at a time. I realize this really wouldn't appeal to some people, and it may turn out that we won't like it at all either. But I'm willing to give it a try. I'm hoping that it will making grocery shopping easier and less expensive. Plus I won't give up trying to plan meals because I can't come up with different ideas, etc.

Also, I may try some different side dish recipes or do a bit more baking with my extra time, but I don't have to feel obligated to, as long as I get a well-balanced dinner on the table. This is an adventure in the kitchen to be sure! I suppose we'll start this next week as the grocery shopping for this week is done.

I should mention that we'll be using a summer rotation of foods right now. I hope to change at least some of the main meals with each season, and of course for veggies, etc. we'll buy what's in season or on sale! Our list right now is also kind of loose, if you will. For example, I have chicken and rice for one night, but I could do a chicken broccoli rice casserole one week and chicken with pineapple and rice the next.

Do any of you guys do anything special for planning meals? How do you come up with your meals each week? Just curious.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Italian Omlettes

In our house the weekly grocery shopping is done on Monday evening. This week I forgot to buy any meat so now this weekend has found us scrounging for food. I was pretty proud of my Italian omlettes that I resourcefully pulled together tonight!

-4 eggs
-chopped onion
-diced tomato (I would've used fresh, but they aren't ripe yet! I had a can in the pantry.)
-fresh basil, chopped
-shredded parmesean

They were great! Unfortunately, it looks like we're down to spoonfuls of peanut butter for all our meals tomorrow... Kidding, kidding.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Lemonicious Chicken

Lemonicious Chicken by Annie

You will need:
-Lemon Juice
-Minced Garlic
-Fresh Thyme (or dried)
-Bread Crumbs (seasoned or unseasoned)
-Olive Oil
-Salt & Peppah
-Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts

Start with your melted butter in a bowl (about one Tbs) and 2-3 Tbs of lemon juice. Add in a sprinkling of bread crumbs to thicken it, about 3 cloves of minced garlic, and a good amount of fresh thyme. Salt and pepper the stuff as you go. If it's too dry, add a little bit of olive oil. Once it's a good marinade-ish consistency, roll your chicken breasts around in it and place them in a baking dish. You can dump the rest of the mixture on top, but add some more bread crumbs so it's thicker. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes or until the chicken is done. Sprinkle more fresh thyme on top before serving.

Yum yum!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Haha, oops...

Well, um, I didn't realize when I switched the template that all our lovely photos would be gone forever. Oopsey. Sorry.

So if you all would be so kind as to email me a picture once more that would be fabulous.

I'll save the pictures this time...or leave the template alone.

Key Lime Pie

OH I have a picture!!
We had limes that needed to be used + Kristine feels the need to bake SOMETHING at 10pm last night =

Key Lime Pie
Makes 1 9'' pie

1 & 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
5 TB unsalted butter, melted
1 TB sugar
2 TSP lime zest
4 egg yolks
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup lime freshly squeezed key limes juice

preheat oven to 350. To make crust, combine graham crumbs, butter, sugar and zest in a bowl. Press into the bottom of a pie pan with spatuala. Bake 6-8 mins, remove and let cool completely.

very gently beat egg yolks with fork or whisk without beating air into them. stir in condensed milk unti blended. Stir in lime juice until it is smooth.

pour into pie pan and put the pie pan onto a cookie sheet. (like the way it is done in the photo) bake at 350 for 15 mins. remove, let cool and chill for several hour before serving.

My notes:
-I used regular limes. Mom says the only reason it's called Key Lime is because that was what was in the region when the pie was created.
-We didn't have graham crackers, but we did have regular pie crusts frozen. I baked one for 10 mins in the oven at 350. I forgot to poke holes in the crust. So I had to deflate the little air pockets that formed. No biggie. Must not forget next time.
-Since I didn't use lime zest in the crust, I used it in the actual custard. I found that one lime = about 1/4 cup of juice.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

New Template?

You might have noticed a template change around here. I'm not leaving it at this one, but I got lazy right after I picked this one. If any of you other cookin' ladies finds a template you'd like to use, let me know. I just got sick of the old one. I'll keep looking too.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


wow, I've been gone so long I think I forget how to do this whole thing...

Tonight we had the BEST ribs. The kind of ribs that you can't pick up in one piece. The kind of ribs that require no struggle to get the meat off the bone. The kind of ribs that look like this when you're through:

They were probably the best ribs I've ever had in my whole entire life. Dad got the recipe from a pharmaceutical rep, and now I pass it on to you...

(we had about three pounds of baby back ribs, which generally have the most meat and least fat)

1. Rub ribs in Emeril's rib rub and brown sugar. Lay in pan.
2. Pour Coca-Cola over ribs; we used three cans. The Coke was about 1/2 in thick in the pan.
3. Cover pan with foil; bake at 250 for four hours.
4. Take out of oven and cover with favorite BBQ sauce; back in oven for 30 minutes (we only covered the pan partially with foil this time)
5. Remove from oven; Let sit for 10-15 minutes on the counter, then cover with more BBQ sauce and place on hot grill (indirect heat) for 5 minutes. It'll be hard to get them off the grill-- Dad had to use a spatula because they just fell apart.

Mmm, mmm!
(I said "we," throughout the recipe... but it was really just my Dad. Thanks, Dad!)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Black Bean Brownies - Don't Skip This Post...

Um. Can I say I am blown away? My mom, the skeptic, is also blown away.
I don't have any pictures, they got eaten too fast at work, but they look like regular, DARK brownies. Very soft and gooey. Rather fudge like in appearance and taste really.

Seriously you guys, these are amazing. I think it's the little bit of coffee graunales that really brings out the chocolate flavor. I used unsweetened chocolate like the recipe calls for. Actually, I pretty much did the recipe to a T, I just cut it in half otherwise you'll get 45 brownies and that's a lot, even for my coworkers.

And the kicker is how, um.. healthy? they are ? I mean, we are talking about a flourless brownie, with agave nectar which has a lower glycemic index than other sugar. And they have black beans in WHAT???

don't be a skeptic. Make them for your next get together. No one will know what's in them..

just remember to referidgerate them because these puppies are SOFT and WILL fall apart.

Thanks, Heidi for finding this awesome recipe. I posted the link in my previous post, but here's the recipe with Heidi's notes:

Amazing Black Bean Brownie Recipe
For those of you who have a hard time tracking down agave nectar (which is becoming much more readily available) substitute honey 1:1 for the agave nectar. Ania's head notes encourage you to keep these brownies in the refrigerator, they will slice much better if refrigerated several hours or preferably overnight. I used instant coffee this time around, but you can find natural coffee substitute at many natural food stores.

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups soft-cooked black beans, drained well (hs: canned is fine)
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¼ cup (granulated) natural coffee substitute (or instant coffee, for gluten-sensitive)
¼ teaspoon sea salt
4 large eggs
1½ cups light agave nectar

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line an 11- by 18-inch (rimmed) baking pan (hs note: or jellyroll pan) with parchment paper and lightly oil with canola oil spray.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a glass bowl in the microwave for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on high. Stir with a spoon to melt the chocolate completely. Place the beans, 1/2 cup of the walnuts, the vanilla extract, and a couple of spoonfuls of the melted chocolate mixture into the bowl of a food processor. Blend about 2 minutes, or until smooth. The batter should be thick and the beans smooth. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the remaining 1/2 cup walnuts, remaining melted chocolate mixture, coffee substitute, and salt. Mix well and set aside.

In a separate bowl, with an electric mixer beat the eggs until light and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the agave nectar and beat well. Set aside.

Add the bean/chocolate mixture to the coffee/chocolate mixture. Stir until blended well.

Add the egg mixture, reserving about 1/2 cup. Mix well. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Using an electric mixer, beat the remaining 1/2 cup egg mixture until light and fluffy. Drizzle over the brownie batter. Use a wooden toothpick to pull the egg mixture through the batter, creating a marbled effect. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the brownies are set. Let cool in the pan completely before cutting into squares. (They will be soft until refrigerated.)

Makes 45 (2-inch) brownies.

Reprinted with permission from Baking With Agave Nectar: Over 100 Recipes Using Nature’s Ultimate Sweetener by Ania Catalano. (Ten Speed Press 2008)

Thursday, June 19, 2008


So I've discovered another bonus of planning and making real meals everyday: frozen leftovers! I usually make our meals according to the recipes and don't take into account the fact that there are only two of us eating. So we are often left with leftovers...sometimes lots of leftovers. And so I have in my freezer from the past two weeks enough frozen leftovers for at least four meals next week.

This is good. When we get settled in our new place, I will continue freezing leftovers, only I won't serve them quite so readily so when No. 2 arrives we will hopefully have a freezer stocked with meals while we make all the necessary adjustments of adding a new baby to the family. This is especially important because 1. I no longer live surrounded by dear friends who will provide us meals for up to three weeks after the birth. I will be living by strangers. and 2. Should I happen to find myself with a second csection, making meals would be even more difficult than I'm sure they already are after having a baby. It's nice to have back-up.

Also Peter gets paid on Tuesdays. When I want to do my shopping on the weekends, I often borrow money from savings until we get his paycheck and then I transfer some extra money to savings to cover what I took. But as the weather is so nice and Charles is getting older, I really enjoy taking the car from time to time. So I think I'll just do my grocery shopping for next week on Wednesday or sometime after Peter gets paid.

Garby, I'm very eager to hear about those brownies. I totally believe in the possibility of them!

Call Me Crazy...

but I'm making these tonight to bring for my co workers in the printshop who did me a favor.

Will let you know how they turn out..

thanks to Heidi at for the recipe, she got it from :
Reprinted with permission from Baking With Agave Nectar: Over 100 Recipes Using Nature’s Ultimate Sweetener by Ania Catalano. (Ten Speed Press 2008)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


for dinner tonight.

Here is the recipe that I'm tentatively using.

I'm actually using it mostly for the cooking technique part of the recipe.

I'll post afterwards and let you know my version.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Lemon Chick Pea Dip (not quite hummus)

Lemon Chick Pea Dip (not quite hummus)
Rachel Ray

Mix in food processor :

1 can chick peas rinsed and drained
Lemon and juice of one lemon
2 large thyme stalks (pull the leaves off backwards)
1 large garlic clove minced
Hot sauce or pepper flakes to taste
pinch of salt

While processor is on, drizzle in 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil until hummus consistency is achieved.

* I have made this multiple times and it is delicious! the lemon flavor is there but not overpowering, it also works well as a sandwich spread. Light enough for appetizer, also good as a side dish.

It is not quite hummus because there is no tahini. I don't like the gritty texture of tahini so I don't add it. Also, if you're trying to watch your fat intake this is a good recipe because tahini has a high fat content

Friday, June 13, 2008

Crispy Seasoned French Fries

We're having dinner guests over and these are on the menu. I haven't made them before but Dan wanted fries with our "one bad meal". We get one bad meal a week these days and tonight is it! I didn't have a recipe for fries so I went searching and I liked this one the most out of what I saw.

2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon onion salt
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 cup water, or as needed
1 cup vegetable oil for frying

Slice potatoes into French fries, and place into cold water so they won't turn brown while you prepare the oil.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. While the oil is heating, sift the flour, garlic salt, onion salt, (regular) salt, and paprika into a large bowl. Gradually stir in enough water so that the mixture can be drizzled from a spoon.
Dip potato slices into the batter one at a time, and place in the hot oil so they are not touching at first. The fries must be placed into the skillet one at a time, or they will clump together. Fry until golden brown and crispy. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Side Note: You can also bake these at 350 for 45 mintues and get the same thing but healthier.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

It's Working!

I am loving planning weekly meals. Not only was my shopping last week fast and frugal, but there was at least one, maybe two, days this week where I was not feeling creative or homemake-y and in normal circumstances dinner probably would have been something frozen. But since my list was right there on the fridge, I already knew what I was doing that evening. Even if that meal did not particularly appeal to me, I made it anyway. And it just feels good to be serving in this way.

I scheduled a leftovers night this week, as I will continue to do It avoids wasting food and gives me a break in the kitchen. Tonight was easy too. We're having hamburgers, so I made a side dish. Italian Pasta Salad. It's fun to get to make a side dish here and there, too.

I'm getting my list ready for next week. Shopping tomorrow!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Corn on the cob

The season for fresh corn is fast approaching! In our house it has already begun. We had some delicious corn on the cob on Saturday, and I just scraped the leftovers off the cob today for a quick snack. So good.

Now I really want one of these!


P.S. So far the meal planning and making is going quite well. Dinner for tonight is the crockpot as I type. I made this once before and really enjoyed it. This time I tried slicing the sausage into coin shaped pieces. I'm anxious to eat it. It smells so good!

One more thing: if you want a very easy, make ahead, crowd pleaser be sure to give the Italian Beef Sandwiches a try. Everyone raved. My dad told me about three different times how delicious they were. Guess what I'm eating for lunch this week?!

Friday, June 6, 2008


It always seems to take me awhile to rebound from morning sickness. I've been feeling fine for a number of weeks now, but am I back to planning meals? No. Do I have a decent dinner on the table for my husband every night? No.

I think even though morning sickness is over, with little ones life is ever-changing. Now I have to figure out how to have a meal hot and ready to go when Peter gets home at 7 o'clock while Charles is winding down for bed, coveting my attention. He seems to especially "need" me whenever I'm in the kitchen...curious. :)

I also have to be sure not to get my feelings hurt if Peter is not particularly hungry some night. It seems to be a pattern that if I make the effort to get a meal on the table and Peter doesn't eat it or much of it, then I lose my enthusiasm for making a meal the next day. But the fact is, it's my job. And really, I'm no gourmet chef over here. At all. I really can't expect Peter to get too fired up about dinner after a 2 hour commute home.

So I am going to do much like well-organized Barbara. I am going to make a list of dinners for a whole week, and I'm going to write my grocery list based on the dinner list. Then I'm going to post our dinners for the week on the fridge or somewhere around here so Peter will know what's for dinner each night and I'll know what I'm making without having to think about it!

I'm starting today as I'll make a trip to the food market tomorrow. And boy it's harder than I remember it being to make a weekly menu. I think it's because food doesn't really appeal that much to me right now, even though I'm not nauseous. So I'm scouring all of our blog links looking for those good meals!