Thursday, November 26, 2009

Peach puff pancake

This is a family favorite for breakfast. It is often requested. When I worked, I brought it once to a breakfast and got volunteered to bring it to all subsequent breakfasts. It is delicious. It comes from an old betty crocker magazine. I've subscribed to those for years. I don't know the year or month because it no longer has a cover. This picture isn't the prettiest we've made, but that is what it looked like today. There is a picture on my regular blog of how much our lovely boys decided to leave us one day when they ate before us.


  • 6 Tablespoons butter
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 medium peaches (1 lb) peeled and sliced (2 cups) Can sub frozen or canned. I use 2 cans.
Optional toppings
  • Peach preserves
  • Maple syrup
1. Heat oven to 375. Spray 2 1/2 quart casserole or 9X13 pan with cooking spray. Melt butter in baking dish in oven.
2. Combine remaining ingredients in blender. Blend until smooth.
3. Stir peaches in to butter in bakin gdish; return to oven 2 to 3 minutes or until sizzling. (It appears that DH decided to get these "nice and bubbly" today - I had gone to take a shower. That is why the pic. isn't the best in the world. A little overly golden on top. Still tasted good though.
4. POur batter over peaches. Bake about 20 minutes or until puffed and golden. (It almost always takes longer than 20 minutes. It takes less time in a 9X13 and usually about 40 minutes in my white casserole dish.) Serve immediately with peach preserves and maple syrup. YUM!!!

Truck stop buttermilk pancakes

This is a good plain pancake recipe from There it is scaled to make a ton. I scale it down to 5 portions so it used 2 whole eggs. (Original recipe is for 5 eggs.)
Ha ha - just looked up this recipe and somehow the directions got changed to smallest font.  Looked like 2 lines,  not words.  Fixed now though.

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons and 1-1/2 teaspoons butter, melted
  • 2 cups and 1 tablespoon buttermilk
  • 2 cups and 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/8 pinch salt (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons and 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, butter and buttermilk. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and sugar; stir into the wet ingredients just until blended. Adjust the thickness of the batter to your liking by adding more flour or buttermilk if necessary.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and coat with cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet, and cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side. Continue with remaining batter.

Tostada Stacks

This was a yummy recipe I found on Macheesmo. It is a great cooking website. I did things quite a bit different. Some things I liked, some things I didn't. I do wish I had a spice grinder and could try this with the whole spices like he did. That looks good.


Rice and Beans:
- 1 1/2 Cups long grain rice (not instant)
- 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans (or any bean that you want)
- 2 (15 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tablespoon cumin
- 1 Tablespoon coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red peppers
- 2 Teaspoons paprika
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil or butter
- Salt and pepper

- 12 corn tortillas (or as many as you want to stack I guess)
- Canola oil
- 8 ounces cheddar cheese, grated
- Sour Cream (optional)
- guacamole (optional)
- Hot sauce (optional)


Heat butter over medium-high heat in a large pan with a lid. Add onions and garlic and cook for just a few minutes until they are translucent. Then add all your spices and stir well to combine.

Next stir in you rice. You want the rice to absorb some of the spices and get hot before you add your liquids. Just stir everything together for about 30 seconds.

Next add your canned tomatoes and about 3 Cups water. Bring this mixture to a simmer and cook it covered over low heat for about 20 minutes.
(I have read that rice doesn't cook as well with tomatoes. This seemed to be the case with my rice. I know on other recipes, they have called for converted rice when using tomatoes. I used regular long grain, but it took another 10 minutes and extra liquid. After 20 minutes is when I added the second can of tomatoes, but I liked it that way.)

When the rice is almost done, add in the black beans, and a good pinch of salt and some pepper to taste.


The Macheesmo guy fried his tortillas. I brushed mine with oil and cooked them at 350 for 15 to 20 minutes. They seemed crispy enough, but were super tough to cut through. Next time I make this I will either just fry them, buy pre-fried tortillas, or leave them longer in the oven. The finished product was still super tasty, just exceedingly hard to cut through.

Making the stack. Start with a layer of rice and beans so that your stack doesn’t slide around on the plate. The basic layer is tostado, cheese, rice and beans, hot sauce (optional), and another tostado. Top the whole thing with sour cream and guacamole.

The macheesmo recipes has great pictures of all the steps.

Orange-thyme crock pot chicken

This is the last recipe from the Saving Dinner book. This one I didn't change up too much. Just added a bit more thyme, oj, and chicken. Very simple recipe. The flavor was great, but unfortunately, it wasn't great because my crock pot cooks things too fast, and the chicken turned out too dry. Trying to remedy that problem.


  • 6 oz can frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed. (I could only find the 12 oz and used about 1/2 at the beginning, but added another tablespoon or 2 to the sauce.)
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • dash ground nutmeg
  • dash garlic powder
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch

Combine thawed orange juice concentrate in a blow with thyme, nutmeg, and garlic powder. Dip each piece of chicken into the orange juice to coat completely. Place in crockpot. Pour remaining orange juice mix over the chicken.
Cook on low 6-7 hours or high for 4 hours.
When chicken is done, remove and keep warm. Pour the sauce that remains in the crockpot into a saucepan. (I strained mine so I wouldn't have chicken lumps in mine.) Mix cornstarch and water well and stir into the juice in pan. I tasted the sauce and thought it needed more orange flavor so I added another 2 tablespoons of orange juice concentrate. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thick and bubbly. Serve sauce over chicken.

I served this over brown rice and made a simple salad that was just spinach with craisins and pecans thrown on top.

White Turkey chili

This is another recipe from Saving Dinner although I did change this one up a bit. It was quite good. A bit sweet, not too spicy for the kids, etc.

  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 can great northern beans
  • 1 can mexicorn
  • 1 16 oz jar salsa
  • 2 15 oz cans diced tomatoes (I used 1 petite diced with sweet onion and 1 regular diced because that is what I had. If doing this again, I'd probably use another petite diced with sweet onion. I liked the smaller diced tomato and the added flavor of the onion.)

In a skillet heat butter over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook till translucent. Add turkey and brown, salting and peppering to taste. Drain, add the rest of the ingredients and heat until bubbly and completely heated through.

Upside-Down Meat Loaf

This recipe comes from the book Saving Dinner by Leanne Ely. I checked it out from the library and chose 3 recipes from it this week. Unfortunately, 2 of the 3 turned out worse than I would have liked but not really because they were bad recipes. I actually like the concept of the book. The recipes seem easy, there are a lot of them, and she recommends sides for each main dish. The organization of the book is not my favorite because I don't plan to follow her full week plan, but the ideas are good and quite simple.
I really liked the sauce on the top of the upside down meatloaf, but I had pre-chopped an onion and it ended up being super strong and taking over the whole meatloaf. I want to try this again with a freshly chopped onion to see what it really tastes like. I've not made a meatloaf with buttermilk and oats before, so I really want to try this another time.

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 1/2 lbs extra lean ground beef
  • 1 3/4 cups oats
  • 3/4 cups buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a 5 X 9 inch loaf pan.
On the bottom of the pan, press brown sugar, then spread the ketchup over the sugar.
Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Make a loaf out of mixture and place it carefully on top of the sugar/ketchup mixture in the loaf pan.
Bake for 45 minutes to an hour or until juice runs clear.

Mine took a good hour and 15 maybe longer to be done. I think that is because the onions were cold - everything was very cold. Who knows. It was just a bad meatloaf day. Next time I will definitely use a fresh onion and possibly saute it first.

Baked Ziti

I found this recipe on real mom kitchen, but she found it on another kitchen site called blog chef. It turned out pretty good. I added more oregano than they did, and a bit of thyme as well.
  • 1lb ground beef
  • 1 cup onion (chopped)
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 (32 ounce) jar meatless spaghetti sauce
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 Tablespoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 (16 oz) package ziti pasta (cooked and drained)
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet add ground beef, onions and garlic. (I used my precooked ground beef, so I sauteed the garlic and onions then added the cooked beef.) Cook over medium high heat stirring frequently until the beef is browned. Stir in spaghetti sauce, chicken broth and oregano. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

2. Stir in 1 cup of sauce into the cooked ziti noodles. Spoon ½ of the ziti mixture into a 13×9” baking dish. Sprinkle 1 ½ cups mozzarella cheese and ½ cup parmesan cheese over the top of the ziti mixture. Top with 2 cups of the sauce, then add remaining ziti mixture and top that with the remaining sauce.

3. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes remove from oven, uncover and sprinkle the top with the remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Return to over and bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted.
(Makes 6 Servings)

Vegetables in Peanut Sauce with noodles

This one worried me to try. I was afraid it wasn't going to turn out well. It was vegetarian which I wasn't sure how would go over at my house, and I had even sprouted my own mung beans to make the bean sprouts. However, all said and done, it turned out pretty well. I was pleasantly surprised and it was eaten by everyone with no complaint.

  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 Tablespoon grated gingerroot
  • 8 medium green onions, sliced
  • 1 bag frozen broccoli and cauliflowers
  • 1 cup matchstick carrots
  • 2 stalks celery, cliced
  • 8 oz. bean sprouts
  • 1 8 oz. can sliced water chestnuts, drained
  • 5 cups chow mein noodles
  • dry roasted peanuts, if desired
1. Mix water, peanut butter, sugar, soy sauce, cornstarch, ginger and onions in medium bowl; set aside.
2. Spray large wok with cooking spray; heat over medium-high heat. Cook broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and celery in w0k for 5 minutes stirring frequently. Sir in bean sprouts and water chestnuts. Cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium; stir in peanut butter mixture. Cover and cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened.
3. Serve vegetable mixture over chow mein noodles. Sprinkle with peanuts.

I thought this needed a bit more salt. If making it again, I would probably add more soy sauce to the mix, and a little garlic. When I ate it this time, I sprinkled it with garlic salt and the peanuts. Then it tasted pretty good.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

slow cooker beef tortellini soup

This was a pretty regular stew type soup. It gets 4 stars because all children ate it without complaint. DH added hot sauce to his for more flavor. It comes from Nov '03 Betty Crocker cookbook magazine as well, with some switches for my family. I forgot to take a picture until we were dishing seconds. Oops. It isn't the prettiest picture in the world, but the stew was pretty good.


  • 1 1/2 lb beef stew meat. (I had chuck roast that I cut up.)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots sliced
  • 1 stalk celery, sliced
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 10.5 oz cans condensed beef consomme
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 2 cups frozen cheese-filled tortellini
  • 1 can green beans (drained)

1. Add beef, onion, carrot, celery, garlic, sugar, tomatoes, and beef consomme, and basil to slow cooker. Stir.
2. Cover and cook on low heat setting 8 to 9 hours.
3. About 25 minutes before serving stir in frozen tortellini and green beans. Cook on High about 25 minutes or until tortellini are cooked.

Tuscan Rosemary Chicken and White Beans

This is another recipe idea from the Betty Crocker Nov 03 magazine. We've had this before and I remember it being good. It did not disappoint today. I did change it a bit - added some chicken, more veggies.... This is how I made it today.


  • 2/3 cup Italian dression
  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast (This was 4 for me - they were semi -large and I wanted them to cook without drying out so I cut them in half to make 8 pieces.)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 5 carrots
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1/4 cup julienne cut sun-dried tomatoes (found these pre cut, not in oil- so convenient)
  • 2 tsp dried rosemary leaves, crumbled
  • 2 cans great northern beans, rinsed and drained

1. Heat dressing in large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook chicken in dressing 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
2. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add water, carrots, celery, tomatoes and rosemary to skillet. Cover and simmer about 10 minutes.
3. Stir in beans. Cover and cook 5 to 6 minutes or until beans are thoroughly heated and chicken is completely cooked.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Biscuits, cheese steak sandwiches

Brandon decided to make some biscuits. They were the best biscuits ever. Nice and flaky crisp on the outside but not dry on the inside. He started with a recipe out of the Betty Crocker cookbook, but modified it. Yum! I got him to type in what he did so I could repeat it.

Sour Cream Biscuits

Ahh, those whole wheat biscuits gave me a craving for the better biscuit.

2 C. Flour
3 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 tsp. salt
2/3 C. butter flavor shortening
1/2 C. sour cream mixed with 1/4 C. milk

Mix all ingredients and bake for 10 mins at 450F.

He also made some cheese steak sandwiches. He used the bun recipe here only he used all white flour and we shaped them into oval shapes rather than round. Should have flattened them a bit more. They were a bit tall for a sandwich bun, but with the cheese steak they were delicious.

After Steak Dinner, Cheese Steak

Left over Steak
1/2 Onion
1/2 Bell pepper
2 Tbs. Butter
1/2 C. Cheese: Swiss or Provolone

Take the left over steak after the dinner and chop vigorously till in small bits. Saute onion and bell pepper in Butter, till caramelized. Add Steak and cook till meat is crisp. Sprinkle with cheese and serve into hoagie rolls once cheese is melted.

Wheat bread

I found this most awesome wheat bread recipe the other day on She even has a video of it. Check it out here. She also has a recipe for white bread but I haven't tried that one yet. The wheat was the best I have made. You can check out her option on the link above. I am now editing my recipe. I started making this with agave and an extra Tablespoon of powdered milk and I love it. This picture is of the second loaf 2 days after it was made and it still looked good. I also took a picture of my pan, but I'm now changing that to an amazon link - their picture is prettier. I love this pan because it has straight sides and nice corners. It makes a pretty loaf of bread that slices nicely all the way to the end.

Update 8/16/2011 - Still love the chicago metallic, but I now bought 4 of the regular size (1 lb) loaf pans.  That is what I use all of the time.  I've also lowered the amount of gluten I use in this loaf a lot of the time.  Works equally as well.  (Although now that I found a source for cheaper gluten I may up it to the full cup again.)


  • 1 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup agave
  • 2 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup vital wheat gluten
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tablespoon nonfat non instant dry milk
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 Tablespoon vinegar
  • 1/4 cup potato flakes
Mix ingredients in order listed in mixing bowl of mixer with dough hook attachment (like kitchen-aid) for 12-15 minutes. Let rise until double, 1- 1 1/2 hours. Punch down, and shape into loaf or rolls. Let rise again until double and bake 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes until golden brown and sounds hollow when lightly tapped.
Here is a picture of the bread as "peanut butter with honey and bananas." Benjamin's favorite lunch.

Been making 4 loaves at once lately - here are the measures so I no longer have to think about it every time.

  • 5 cups warm water
  • 1/4 cup yeast
  • 1 cup agave
  • 11 cups wheat flour  (or 11.5 cups flour -if using 1/2 cup gluten not 1)
  • 1 cup gluten (or 1/2 cup gluten)
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 cup powdered milk
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1 cup potato flakes


We love pizza at our house. It is one of the few foods that we have regularly. I found a book by Peter Reinhart called American Pie that I absolutely love. It has recipes for all types of pizza dough - Napoletana, Roman, Neo-Nepolitan, New York -style, Americana, Chicago style deep dish and more. It also has some recipes for sauces, and even ideas for toppings. I've also used a wheat recipe out of his book Whole grain breads. That was quite good too. Our favorite to make is Neo-Nepolitan with whatever toppings we like, but we also like all of the others we have tried, and we had tried most of them. We even like the super thin crust - it comes out like a cracker - super fun to try something different. I highly recommend the book if you are a pizza nut like we are.
Here is a slightly amended and definitely abbreviated (instructions) version of Neo-Nepolitan recipe. If you want more details or to try his exact recipe, check out his book. I got it at the library and liked it so much I bought it.
This is actually not a picture of the pizza I have put the recipe to. I thought I had multiple pictures of pizza already taken, but this is the only one I can find. It is a picture of a super thin crust. If I find more pictures I'll post them later. This recipe is for a medium crust - not too thin, not too thick.

  • 4 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 3/4 cup room temp. water

1. Mix all ingredients in mixer with dough hook 4 minutes (until it forms a ball.) Let rest 5 minutes. Mix again on medium low speed for 2 minutes or until dough clears side of bowl and sticks to bottom. If it is too sticky add more flour, if it is too dry, add more water. (It should be soft and slightly sticky, but not so sticky that it will stick all over when you try to roll it out later.)
2. Divide into 4 balls. Round into a ball and brush with oil. Put each ball in it's own container with a lid (or zip top bag.) Let set at room temp for 15 min. Refrigerate overnight of freeze any pieces that won't be used the next day.
3. The next day, take dough out 2 hours before you want to use them. Preheat the oven to highest setting. After 2 hours, roll out dough or toss if you are good at that. We put our dough on a pizza peel that has cornmeal on it then add the toppings. (Today we had ham an pineapple, cheese, and pepperoni.) Then we slide it into the oven right onto the pizza stone.
4. Bake on a pizza stone for 8 to 10 minutes until done.

Like I said, that is my version and it is a super abbreviated version of the directions. Check out his book if you want lots of details and pictures. Not to mention the fact that it is a decent read - talks about his travels to try different pizzas.

Another idea I love from his book is his pizza sauces. He has a crushed tomato sauce and marinara pizza sauce that are both yummy.
Here's how I made a crushed tomato sauce based on his today.

  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Mix it all together in a bowl.

Honestly I was surprised by how much I loved this sauce. It is so simple with no cooking involved. I guess because I like spaghetti sauce that simmers all day I thought that this would need to do the same. I change the herbs up all the time trying different ones out. I'm not a huge fan of basil, but I like thyme, so I tried changing those up today. You can sub out red wine vinegar for the lemon juice, and add more salt if you like it more salty. Have fun experimenting. I just like the idea of using crushed tomatoes and making my own sauce.

Update 12/04 - This time when I made the sauce I used a full teaspoon of thyme and red wine vinegar in place of the lemon juice. I think I liked this better. This may also be the day my basil ran out so I only ended up with about 1/4 teaspoon. Still yummy. Here are pictures from that day. In one I rolled the dough out a little thinner and then rolled the edges back to form the crust. In the other, I semi-tossed it -DH is the one who can toss, not me and he was not home. Still, I spread it more on my fists and ended up with a bit thicker crust that was automatically a tiny bit thicker around the edges. Toppings today were ham and pineapple (left over from Thanksgiving.) and sauce and mutz (fresh mozzarella) with the cheese placed right on the crust and the sauce put on top of that.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

whole wheat biscuits

I made these to go with the chicken and corn. I got the recipe from Allrecipes. It is a super sticky dough the way it is listed there. I've made them twice and just used the dough that sticky and made them as drop biscuits. You would need to add more flour if you wanted to roll them out. While they aren't the best biscuits on the planet, they are wheat/white, and they have a nice texture - pretty fluffy for a biscuit.

Not the greatest picture, but you get the idea - basic drop biscuits.

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 cup milk
  1. In a medium bowl, combine flours, baking powder, sugar, and salt; mix well. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in milk just until moistened. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface; knead gently 8 to 10 times. Roll to 3/4-in. thickness; cut with a 2-1/2-in. biscuit cutter and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees F for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve warm.

Home-Style Chicken and Corn

This is another one that has yum written on the page. It comes from Betty Crocker's Nov. '03 recipe book as do most of my dinner recipes this week.


  • 1 Tablespoon butter or margarine
  • 8 chicken legs (about 2 lbs)
  • 1 large onion, cut in half and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 8 half-ears frozen corn on the cob
  • 1 bag (1 lb 4 oz) refrigerated new potato wedges. (I just buy my own and chop)

1. Melt butter in a 4 quart nonstick dutch oven over high heat. Cook chicken, onion, 1/2 teaspoon of the seasoned salt and the pepper in butter 10 to 15 minutes, turning chicken occasionally until chicken is light golden brown. Stir onions to side if they start to burn.
2. Reduce heat to medium-high. Add water, corn and potatoes to pot. Sprinkle with remaining seasoned salt. Cover and cook 15 to 20 minutes or until juice of chicken is no longer pink when centers of thickest pieces are cut.
3. Remove chicken and corn to serving platter using tongs. Gently stir potatoes with onions and pan juices; spoon onto serving platter. Sprinkle with parsley.
4 servings

I used 12 chicken legs (I think - maybe 13 - however many were in the package.) I also used all 12 of the corn on the cobs. I should have used my full 2 lbs of potatoes but it was late and I didn't want dinner to be any later while I cut more potatoes. All of that food wouldn't fit in my large pot, so I moved 1/2 over to a very large frying pan that I have. The onions burned a bit in the frying pan one, but other than that it was fine.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Rice pudding

OK, I have a thing for rice pudding - I LOVE IT! So, I'm always trying a new recipe. Here are some of my favorites. I'm going to try to make them all in the next couple of weeks and try to get some pictures on here.

First - my brand new all time favorite for creaminess and speed. I found this recipe in a pressure cooker cook book I had checked out of the library.

Creamy Rice Pudding with Cranberries

  • 1 cup arborio or other short-grain rice
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 can 2 % evaporated milk (14 oz -although I only used 12 because that is what I have -I've also never seen 2 % just regular and skim - I did double this once and used 1 of each)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, dried cherries or raisins
  • 1/2 cup low-fat sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla

1. In a pressure cooker, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in rice, coating the grains with butter. Stir in water, evaporated milk, cinnamon and nutmeg; bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring to make sure the milk doesn't burn.
2. Lock the lid in place and bring cooker up to full pressure over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, just to maintatin even pressure and cook for 6 to 7 minutes. Remove cooker from heat and allow pressure to drop naturally for about 7 minutes. Remove lid.
3. Sir in dried cranberries, condensed milk, and vanilla. Let stand covered (do not lock) for 5 minutes. Spoon into individual dishes and serve warm, or cover with plastic and chill to serve cold.
YUM!!! - I've made it with cranberry and raisin - both are delicious.
Other tips:
I have tried this with regular long grain rice because I keep that on hand but not short grain. Not to mention the fact that it is cheaper. It works fine.
I usually double the recipe because it is a popular dish at my house and I have a large enough crock pot.
1 can of sweetened condensed milk is a little more than 1 cup so if you double, you can probably just use the whole can. (I haven't becasue I've always had extra to use in my fridge.)
Carnation is who makes a 2% evaporated milk. I finally found it.

This is DH's favorite that I have found and I like as well- he likes his rice pudding with egg

Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding


  • 6 c 2% reduced fat milk
  • 1.5 cups uncooked converted rice (such as Uncle Ben's-don't use white tried it once because I didn't have the other, and it didn't turn out the same.)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 3 T butter or margarine, melted
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 vanilla bean, split (I've made it once this way, but vanilla beans are too expensive for me to want to buy. I just subbed a tsp or 2 of vanilla)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 8 oz. light sour cream

Place first 6 ingredients in a 3.5 to 4 quart slow cooker; stir well. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean; add seeds and bean to milk mixture. Cover cook on high setting 2.5 to 4 hours or until rice is tender and most of liquid is absorbed (do not overcook). Place egg in a small bowl; stir well with a whisk. Gradually add 1/2 cup hot rice mixture to egg, stirring constantly with a whisk. Return egg mixture to slow cooker, stirring constantly with whisk. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Turn slow cooker off; let stand 5 minutes. Stir in 1/2 tsp cinnamon and sour cream. Discard vanilla bean. Serve warm. Yields 12 servings (3/4 c. each)

This next one is awesome and uses brown rice. I love the addition of lemon for a different flavor. I'd make it more often if I didn't have to stir it the whole time. I think I'm going to try it in the pressure cooker and see if it turns out. It is from an Oprah show by chef Cat Cora. Click the links to see the rest of the recipes if you want to try them out.


Not much to look at, but tasty with the lemon zest. This one was particularly creamy even though I made a mess of it because we had used some short grain brown rice. It was tastier at dinner, and didn't dry out overnight in the fridge. Definitely need to look into using that more often.

Try chef Cat Cora's recipe for Rizogalo, a creamy breakfast brown rice pudding dish from her complete seven-day menu.

Update 12/4/2010 - made this again today - definitely need to double it for my family.  I did a couple of things differently and I liked it.  I have had trouble with this taking more than 20 minutes to thicken in the past. Today I used an awesome rice - short grain brown rice.  I bought it to try in brown rice and also I ground some for brown rice flour I needed in a recipe the other day.  I liked it a lot because it was not processed and had only the husk removed.  Seemed a bit more whole grain which I particularly liked for grinding, but it was great in the brown rice.  I attached the Amazon thing to have a picture, but I found it at my grocery store for 4.50 or something - expensive for 2 lbs of brown rice, but it was tasty.
On to what I did different - #1 - use the new rice - made a big difference because it was short grain which is more sticky than long grain - #2 - I didn't rinse it.  I kept the stickiness.  It actually thickened pretty quickly.  I think it took less time to cook than to bring the milk to a boil.

Serves 6 (so says Cat Cora, but I double it for my family of 6.)

  • 2 cups cooked brown rice (I recommend short grain)

  • 2 1/2 cups low-fat milk
  • 1/4 cup raw sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 lemon , zested
  • 1 lightly beaten egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Honey
  • Granola (or desired toppings.  Raisins and coconut were yummy today.)
Place the cooked rice in a large bowl and rinse with cool water. Pour the rice into a strainer, let drain well and set aside. (I skipped this part today, and liked it better that way.  I just left my rice in the rice cooker and measured it out straight from there.)

Pour the milk into a large saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Add in 1 teaspoon cinnamon and vanilla extract, and bring to a low boil. Turn the heat down to low and whisk in the sugar, salt and lemon zest. Temper the eggs by ladling about a quarter-cup of the hot milk mixture very slowly into the beaten egg while continuing to whisk gently.  Pour the tempered egg mixture back into the saucepan and stir into the remaining hot milk. Add the rice and stir continuously over low heat until the mixture begins to thicken, about 20 minutes.

Add the butter and stir. Sprinkle lightly with remaining 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. Top with granola and drizzle of honey. Serve warm with milk in bowls if desired.

UPdate 12/4/2010 - today I had my first bowl with a sprinkle of granola, but I liked the raisins and coconut best out of the granola, so with my second bowl I just added raisins and coconut.  I also served this with wedges of the lemon I had zested.  I squeezed my wedge into my second bowl with the raisins and coconut.  Skipped the honey on that bowl too.  Soo good.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Hawaiian Haystacks

These come from a ward cookbook that I have. I chose them this week because I was flipping though the cookbook and had yum written on the page. I did remember it being tasty. It didn't disappoint today. The other great thing about it was that it was super easy. I put my rice in the rice cooker, put me precooked chicken in the microwave, heated my gravy, chopped my bell pepper and celery together in the food processor and luckily had tomatoes left over from yesterday's tacos. It took very little effort today. Never a bad thing in my book.
Not sure it is the prettiest food to look at, but it sure is tasty.

  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 can (9 1/2 oz.) chow mein noodles
  • 2 c. chicken, cooked and cubed
  • 1 (20 oz.) can pineapple chunks, drained
  • 4 cups cooked rice
  • 1 c. celery, chopped
  • 1/2 c. green onion, chopped
  • 1/2 c. green pepper, chopped
  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 c. almonds, slivered (optional)
  • 1 c. cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/2 c. coconut (optional)
  • 1 bottle sweet and sour sauce

Mix soup and broth to make gravy. Heat and keep warm. Layer on individual plates in the following order: Rice, chowmein noodles, chicken, gravy, veggies, fruit, cheese, almonds, coconut, and sweet and sour sauce. Serves 6 to 8.

Pulled pork tacos (mole style)

Tuesday night is always slow cooker night at our house because I teach piano lessons, so I'm always trying something new in the slow cooker. I found this recipe on yet another blog. It is from real simple. I did not use as much chili powder as they called for knowing my family doesn't like things too spicy. I also topped it with different fixings. Below is the way I made it. It was good.

2 cups salsa, plus more for serving (make sure it's like Pace or something, not the fresh stuff)
1 Tbsp chili powder
2 Tbsp dried oregano
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 pounds of pork loin

For serving:
Sour cream
Fresh lime (had this and forgot to use it. Darn)

Combine salsa, chili powder, oregano, cocoa, and 1 teaspoon salt. Add the pork and coat with the sauce. Cook on high for four to five hours or on low for seven to eight hours. Shred meat with two forks before serving. Serve on warm tortillas and top with whatever you like.

Cranberry Salad

This recipe today is the reason I started this blog the other day. I knew I had it because I turned it in for a RS cookbook they are doing for our meeting tonight. Then I was supposed to make it for the meeting today. Do you think I could find the recipe? Of course not. Who knows what I did with it after I typed it up. I know it is my mom's recipe. It is one of the few things we make each holiday season using the same recipe. Most of the other things we make change each year because we like to try lots of stuff out at our house.

You must START EARLY on this recipe. The night before is ideal, but at the latest in the morning.


  • 1 20 oz. can of crushed pineapple and juice
  • 1 bag miniature marshmallows
  • 1 1 lb bag cranberries
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 16 oz. container of cool whip

Combine the pineapple and the marshmallows in a large bowl. Grind the cranberries in food processor and add the sugar. Put in another container. Cover and refrigerate both mixes overnight or at least 4 hours.

Combine pineapple mixture and cranberry mixture. Fold in cool whip. (You can use less cool whip if you want it more tart or so says my mom's recipe. I've never had it like that.)

Top with chopped pecans if desired. Cover and freeze.

Take out about 30 minutes before serving to allow to partially defrost.

11/20/2017 - still making this each Thanksgiving but I'm way more health conscious than I used to be and I can't bring myself to buy cool whip.  Have you read those ingredients?  I do try to feed my family real food.  This is still loaded with sugar to be sure, but now we use actual whipping cream in place of the cool whip.  Just whip to stiff peaks with a bit of sugar and fold in like cool whip.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Blueberry Zucchini Bread

This is a recipe I found on Of course I have altered it. I seem to do that a lot lately. My version is below. The original version is here. There are some great ideas for crumbles to go on top at as well, but I thought it was plenty tasty as it was. Even DH who is very anti-zucchini liked it and said ooo (in a good way) when he found out I was making it today. I think last time I made it I added more sugar. It was probably better sweeter (but only because I have a major sweet tooth.) However, it was still great this way. No one complained and they all had seconds. I'm also ready to make more the next day so I guess it gets 5 stars.


  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups blueberries
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease 2 loaf pans. (or 4 mini loaf pans)
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, applesauce, vanilla, and sugar. Fold in the zucchini. Beat in the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Gently fold in the blueberries. Transfer to the prepared loaf pans.
  3. Bake 1 hour 20 minutes in the preheated oven, (50-55 minutes for mini loaf pans) or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a loaf comes out clean. Cool 20 minutes in pans, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.

Note:  I have made this with 1/4 cup oil and 3/4 cup applesauce it still turns out great.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Whole grain waffles with blueberry sauce

I love the combination of these 2 recipes. Both recipes come from (waffles, blueberry sauce) Yum. The waffles flavor was way better than I expected for a whole grain waffle. What I really liked about them was their texture - nice and crispy on the outside, nice and soft on the inside. (even the one I burned was soft on the inside - that's amazing.) I can't say enough good things about the sauce. It was amazing. I did sub out 1/4 cup of the sugar for splenda with no problems the first time I made it, but have also made it with all sugar.

Whole grain waffles
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 3/4 cups skim milk (I use 2 %)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup flax seed meal
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, oil, applesauce, and vanilla. Beat in whole wheat pastry flour, flax seed meal, wheat germ, all-purpose flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt until batter is smooth.
  2. Preheat a waffle iron, and coat with cooking spray. Pour batter into waffle iron in batches, and cook until crisp and golden brown.

Blueberry Sauce

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the blueberries, 1/4 cup of water, orange juice, and sugar. Stir gently, and bring to a boil.
  2. In a cup or small bowl, mix together the cornstarch and 1/4 cup cold water. Gently stir the cornstarch mixture into the blueberries so as not to mash the berries. Simmer gently until thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the almond extract and cinnamon. Thin sauce with water if it is too thick for your liking.

Caterpillar meatballs, Mummy Sandwich

Here is what I actually made for Halloween. They turned out cute. I didn't like the caterpillar much,(2 star) ( but I knew I wouldn't because I used store bought frozen meatballs and I don't like those. DS2 loved those though. However, the mummy sandwich turned out really good. (5 star) I had the leftovers the next day and was actually happy when DH didn't eat the section I left for him and I got to eat it again the next day.

Caterpillar meatballs

1 tube of flaky layer biscuits
20 frozen meatballs
chow mein noodles, and olives etc. for decoration.

1. Heat oven to 375. Spray large cookie sheet with cooking spray or cover with parchment paper.
2. Divide each biscuit into 2 layers. Cover each meatball with biscuit. Line up on a cookie sheet to form 2 caterpillers. Poke in chow mein noodles to make legs, antenna and tongue.
3. Bake 13 to 16 minutes or until golden brown. Add olives for eyes and mouth.

Mummy Sandwich

  • 1 can refrigerated pizza crust
  • 2 Tbs. onion and chive cream cheese
  • 4 oz. deli sliced ham
  • 4 slices swiss cheese
  • 1 jar (7 oz) roasted red bell pepper
  • sliced black olives
  • precooked chicken (original recipe called for 6 oz deli chicken)
1. Heat oven to 400. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray. Unroll dough onto cookie sheet. Stretch and lightly press 1 short side of rectangle to about 11 inches wide. (the top.) Stretch to about 14 inches long pressing in the sides so the bottom is about 6 inches. (mine was a bit wider than that at the bottom.
2. Spread cream cheese down the center in a 3-4 inch strip leaving 1/2 inch at the top and bottom with no cream cheese.
3. From the wide end, leave about 3 inches space for the head. From there, start layering 2/3 of the ham, peppers, chicken, and cheese on the cream cheese. Starting in top corners, make cuts at an angle 1 inch apart down the long sides of the dough to within 1/2 inch of the filling. (the first cut should be from the top corners down to where you started layering ingredients for the body. Continue with parallel cuts down the side.) To form headplace remaining 1/3 of filling ingredients ending with bell pepper in circular pile over the cream cheese leaving 1/2 inch space from body filling. Fold and shape 3 in section of dough over filling to make rounded head leaving an opening for the eyes, exposing bell pepper. Starting at mummy's neck, alternately cross remaining strips over filling; folding bottom 1/2 inch up before crossing last 2 strips. (This part was hard for me. Their picture looked like they had plenty of dough. I felt like mine was running out, but that is probably because I used chopped cooked chicken so mine was a little fuller than it would have been with deli sliced chicken.)
4. I totally forgot this step, but I'm sure it would be yummy to do an egg wash here and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese
5. Bake 15-20 minutes or until deep golden brown. Place olives on mummy face for eyes.


This is my recipe for marinara/whatever I turn it into sauce. Today it was spaghetti sauce. I'm writing how I made it today.


  • 1 lb cooked ground beef (I use my pre-cooked.)
  • 1 large onion
  • 8 cloves garlic, finely chopped -4 tsp of the predone minced garlic - love that stuff!
  • 2 (28 oz.) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon each of Basil, oregano, and thyme
  • 1 teaspoon each of salt, pepper, and rosemary
  • 3 bay leaves
  • pinch of marjoram
Mix all ingredients in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on Low for 8 to 10 hours or on High for 4 to 5. Serve with noodles.

I make this different just about every time I make it. Many times I have Italian seasoning that I use instead of the other seasonings. I almost always add a little extra thyme and oregano. I don't alway put bay leaves in it. If you like it spicier try adding some dried red peppers while it cooks. My mom uses them in her spaghetti, but I find this recipe to be just the right amount of spicy without them since it has onion and pepper though. Sometimes I also add sausage. I have made it without any meat as well (that is actually how the original recipe was.)

Tandoori chicken and Naan

This was one of my favorite meals that I've made lately. Both the Naan and the Tandoori Chicken were excellent. YUM! (5 star)  Sorry no pics. I made this before I started taking pictures. I'll try to post some next time I make it. The Tandoori Chicken recipe comes from an old Pillsbury or Betty Crocker magazine that I have and is super simple.  It does require some time to marinate, but other than that very easy. The Naan is from allrecipes.  It is a bread so of course it is more time consuming.     At the bottom I included a Pakistani recipe that was similar in flavor only using ground beef. (3 star)

Tandoori Chicken
  • 1 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbs oil
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground red pepper (cayenne)
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (2-3 lbs)

1. In a shallow glass dish, combine yogurt, lemon juice, and oil; blend well. Add all remaining ingredients except chicken breast halves; blend well. Add chicken; turn to coat. Cover; refrigerate 30-60 minutes to marinate.
2. Line 15X10X1 inch baking pan with foil; spray foil with nonstick cooking spray. Remove chicken from marinade; place in foil-lined pan. Discard any marinade.
3. Broil 4 to 6 inches from heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until chicken is fork-tender and juices run clear, turning once.
I had rather large chicken breast halves, so I cut them in half. I figured they would cook faster, and get more marinade on them. It worked very well. Most were done in 10 min. I checked them with a thermometer. If there were up to 159 I took them out. They were perfect. Soft enough to cut with a fork and very yummy! Everyone loved them. Nice Indian flavor.
We served them with the following Naan -the recipe is from allrecipes


  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (optional)
  • In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes, until frothy. Stir in sugar, milk, egg, salt, and enough flour to make a soft dough. Knead for 6 to 8 minutes on a lightly floured surface, or until smooth. Place dough in a well oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and set aside to rise. Let it rise 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in volume.
  • Punch down dough, and knead in garlic. Pinch off small handfuls of dough about the size of a golf ball. Roll into balls, and place on a tray. Cover with a towel, and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
  • During the second rising, preheat grill to high heat.
  • At grill side, roll one ball of dough out into a thin circle. Lightly oil grill. Place dough on grill, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until puffy and lightly browned. Brush uncooked side with butter, and turn over. Brush cooked side with butter, and cook until browned, another 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from grill, and continue the process until all the naan has been prepared.
We did not make them on a grill - we made them on a cast iron skillet. Delicious!!
Update - Oct. 2010 - Made these today on the griddle.  Equally as delicious and I could do 3 at a time.

If you like the flavor of the tandoori chicken, you may like to try the following - it is a Pakistani recipe, but the flavor is similar, just using beef. I'd probably give it 3 stars. It was good, but the Tandoori chicken was awesome. It is from Sparkrecipes.


1.5 lbs lean ground sirloin
1 cup chopped onions
2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup diced potatoes
1/2 teaspoon each cinnamon, tumeric, ginger
1 tbsp curry powder
salt and pepper to taste
Brown ground sirloin in pan with onions until browned.
Add tomatoes, peas, potatoes and spices along with salt and pepper to taste.
Bring to a simmer and cook for 25 mintues.
Add water if it becomes too thick. It should have the consistency of chili.
Serve over brown rice or whole wheat couscous.

Number of Servings: 6

Pork Lo Mein

This is another recipe I found at I chose it because I wanted to try the black bean and garlic sauce. I altered it and used pork because we had just had chicken something the day before. I also used different pasta and veggies than the poster at allrecipes. This is how I made it. As it was I'd probably only give it 2-3 stars. It seemed to be lacking something. I sprinkled mine with some garlic salt and peanuts and that helped bring it up to 4 stars for me. DS2 loved it just the way it was. Here is the way I made it. Next time I will probably add more soy sauce and possibly more black bean and garlic sauce, or add garlic salt to the mix.
For some strange reason I did not make the entire package of noodles, so I didn't mix the noodles and the sauce. I just served it on top. My picture is before I decided it needed peanuts.

  • 1 (16 ounce) package linguine noodles
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 4 pork loin chops cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1-2 cups snow peas
  • 6 green onions, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons Chinese black bean and garlic sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • peanuts
  1. Fill a large pot with lightly salted water and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling, stir in the pasta, and return to a boil. Cook the pasta uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the pasta has cooked through, but is still firm to the bite, 9 to 10 minutes. Drain well in a colander set in the sink.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, then add pork. Cook and stir chicken until no longer pink inside, about 10 minutes; set aside.
  3. In the same skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat and mix in carrots, celery, and green onion and peas. Cook and stir until tender yet still crisp, 5 to 6 minutes. Mix in Chinese black bean and garlic sauce; cook and stir for another minute. In a separate bowl, mix chicken broth, soy sauce, and cornstarch; add sesame oil. Pour mixture over vegetables and simmer until thickened. Toss in drained pasta, stirring until well-coated and heated through.
  4. Serve sprinkled with peanuts.

precooked ground beef and chicken

When I was working I was always looking for a way to speed up dinner making time, and I started making my ground hamburger and chicken ahead of time then freezing them in individual containers. I love doing that. It was so convenient and I have continued doing it even though I no longer work. I like to buy my meat in bulk or just buy a lot when it is on sale, but I hate waiting for it to defrost. This solves my problem on a variety of recipes.

Ground beef

Fry up hamburger with onion, salt, and pepper. Divide into 1 lb containers and freeze. It thaws in 2 minutes in the microwave. I've also made it with celery and onion. Add whatever you normally add to ground beef in a casserole recipe. I also started to make 1.5 lb containers recently. They take 3 minutes to defrost in my microwave.


We like to grill our chicken then chop it up and package it. I love the flavor added to the meat by grilling it over the charcoal. Sometimes we even marinade the meat first.

One of these days I'll learn to use my nice expensive pressure canner and try my hand at canning meat, but for now, this is what I do and I love it. Quick and easy.

Bread topped hamburger casserole

This is an old family recipe. DH doesn't like sheppard's pie, so this is what we have instead. I love the bread topping. I think it is the thyme and oregano in it. Crazy thing about making it today is that I had a lot of really old canned items in my pantry. Apparently I don't use vegetable beef soup that much. I found cans from 2004, 2006, and 2007. Luckily there were some with a date of 2010. I also had tomato sauce from 2005. I know that one was there because it was a garlic tomato sauce and I usually just use plain. So much for me thinking I was good at rotating my food.

Hamburger mixture ingredients
  • 1 lb hamburger
  • dried onions
  • 1/4 c diced bell pepper
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can vegetable beef soup
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt (I used this but will omit next time.)
  • 1 8 oz. can of tomato sauce
Bread topping ingredients
  • 1 pkg. Yeast or 1 Tablespoon
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup scalded milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp oregano

Scald milk by putting in microwave with butter until the butter is melted. Set aside to cool to lukewarm.

Fry hamburger with onions (or use precooked), bell peppers and celery. Drain. Add the rest of the hamburger mixture ingredients. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer while preparing the bread.

Place bread ingredients in a bowl in the order listed. Beat 3 minutes.

Pour hamburger mixture in 9 X 13 pan
Pour bread mixture over meat. -This is a really thin bread mixture. I try to get a nice thick ribbon and pour it slowly over the meat mix because once it is on there it is hard to spread around. (This was about the best I think I've ever spread it. Great for taking a picture.)

Let rise 20-30 minutes

Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

I didn't have Parmesan cheese today, but this is what it looked like out of the oven.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Pumpkin Bread bowls and Witch's Brew

I'm making these again this halloween.  (2012)  Not sure if I will use this recipe of my Green smoothie girl split pea recipe - they are similar.  I am not sure how I will color the pumpkins because I've quit using food coloring for the most part.  (I did cave for the angry bird birthday party - they were mostly colored with fruits, but ...)  Anyway, I'd love any non-food color suggestions.  :)  Pureed carrot and spinach are sounding like what I may try this time around.  I've also updated the bread recipe to include the sweeteners and oils I more commonly use now.

I'm not sure how I found this food storage web site, but I stumbled upon this super cute recipe. Even though Halloween was over I had to try it. It turned out pretty tasty and definitely cute.
I did change the spices on the witches brew. My version is posted here or click the above link for their spices. I was pretty impressed with the soup. I have not made split pea without including ham, so I was a little leary, but it was really good. I also liked the texture the barley added to the soup. I plan to make this a yearly Halloween time meal.

Pumpkin Bread Bowls
Makes 4 medium bread bowls
2 T. instant yeast
1/4 cup sucanant or coconut palm sugar
2 cups warm water
4 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 cup olive oil
6 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (I use white wheat)
Yellow, red, and green food coloring
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and mix until they come together.
2. Knead the dough on a floured tabletop or with dough hook, adding more flour if needed, until it is smooth and elastic but not sticky or soft.
3. Cover and let the dough rise just until it has doubled in bulk (about 1 to 1 1/2 hours).
4. Punch down the dough. Divide the dough into four portions, and remove a small piece of dough from each portion for the stems.
5. Shape each pumpkin by forming a ball with each 1/4 section of dough.  Personally I do this by stretching and rolling the dough down and under from the top although the original directions said to do it by pinching the dough up from the bottom.  The key is - end up with a sphere/pumpkin shape and put the less smooth side down.  .
6. Place the pumpkin on a parchment-paper-lined sheet pan. Grease one end of a toothpick and put it into the dough stem so that it sticks out an inch from the top. Stick the other end into the pumpkin top. Then cover each pumpkin with plastic wrap and let it rise to twice its size.
7. Uncover the risen dough. Holding the stem, slowly twist the toothpick to loosen it but don’t remove it.
8. In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of water with 30 drops of yellow and 6 drops of red food coloring. Transfer a half teaspoon of the mixture to a small bowl and stir in a drop of green food coloring.
Use a small pastry brush to paint the stem green (the brush should not be too wet). Gently apply a coat of orange to the globe using a larger brush and long, soft strokes. Let the paint dry for about 2 minutes.
With a sharp knife, lightly score the dough to create the pumpkin’s grooves.
9. Heat the oven to 375 degrees and bake the bread until it sounds hollow when you tap the crust, about 35 to 40 minutes.
10. Set the pumpkin on a cooling rack and twist the toothpick to remove it. If the crust seems soft, cool the bread completely, then bake it for another 5 to 10 minutes.
Before serving, slice off the top of the pumpkin and pull out the bread from the inside, leaving the bowl about 1” thick on the sides and bottom. Fill with thick soup.

Here are my pumpkins painted and in the oven. Next out of the oven to show how the color darkens. Then cut and awaiting the soup.

Witches’ Brew (Split Pea and Barley Soup)

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups dried split peas
  • 1/2 cup barley
  • 9 cups chicken stock (I used a 64 oz. carton of stock and 1 cup of chicken broth from a can - probably going to use vegetable stock this time around)
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 potatoes, diced (I don’t peel them!)
  • 1/2 T dried parsley
  • 1/2 T dried basil
  • 1 T dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Place all ingredients in a large slow cooker and stir until well combined. Cook for 3-4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low. Add more water if soup is too thick. Serve in bread bowls.

I loved how my crock pot ended up looking like a cauldron. I thought that was fun. Unfortunatly, it didn't want to work correctly. After 5 hours on high it wasn't ready and I had to cook it on the stove for 35 more minutes. Aarg! But that was the crock pot's fault, not the recipes.

Mini German Pancakes and triple berry sauce

Update 8/11/11
I made this again yesterday, but this time instead of berries I used peaches that I had chopped and frozen.  I also added 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon to the syrup.  I was trying to semi recreate peach puff pancake.  This wasn't as good as peach puff, but it was still quite yummy, and lots healthier, so I recommend experimenting with different fruits in the sauce.  Also, I thought of adding almond extract to the batter and maybe omitting the  orange zest.  I had oranges this time so I didn't, but I figure I'd better write myself this note to try for next time.)

Here is a fun recipe I made for breakfast yesterday. It was such a hit that I ended up making a second batch. I found this recipe on Real Mom Kitchen. She found it somewhere else, but I made it using her triple berry sauce, so I'm putting her link. Hers turned out way cuter than mine. I'll include my pictures so you can see, but click the above link if you want to see some really pretty ones.

Mini German Pancakes

  • 1 cup milk
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. orange zest (optional)
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Blend first six ingredients (milk through orange zest) in a blender. Be careful to see that any flour clumps get well-blended.
  2. Blend in butter a little at a time in order to temper the eggs.
  3. Grease muffin tins well and distribute batter evenly between 18-24 tins. Bake for 15 minutes, or until puffy and golden on top.
  4. Served with your favorite toppings. (We topped them with triple berry sauce from Real Mom kitchen)
Triple Berry Sauce

4 cups frozen berries
1 cup water
1/2 cup Xagave, agave or honey
2 Tbsp. cornstarch

Put berries and Xagave in sauce pan and bring to boil. (If using honey had have to water at this point.) Reduce heat to simmer. Mix cornstarch with water and stir until lumps are gone. Pour cornstarch mixture into berry mixture while stirring slowly. Stir until thickens (about 1 to 2 minutes) and begins to bubble.

I actually had some agave nectar that I had bought for some other recipe. I was actually excited to try it in something. I was surprised at how nice it turned out, and how nice it tasted.

Here are some pictures. The first batch I followed Real Mom's suggestion and used a 1/4 measuring cup. That only got me 14 pancakes. They looked like popovers coming out of the oven. and didn't flatten into cute little bowls, but did end up looking cute enough when filled.
Tavio insisted he was still starving so I made a second batch. This time I filled the tins closer to 1/2 full (to make a total of 18 like Real Mom had) and sprayed the tins with Baker's Joy which is supposed to be grease and flour. I ended up with the last 3 puffing like I figure all of them were suppose to. The ones that puffed came out of the pan quite nicely. The ones that didn't still stuck. In this batch, the ones that didn't puff as cutely did have a lovely cave on the bottom side of the pancake. I turned them over and filled them from the bottom.


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