Sunday, February 28, 2010

Lemon Meringue pie

Tavio wanted lemon bars for his birthday instead of cake. I told him about lemon meringue pie and he decided to give that a try. I haven't made it before, so I looked up a recipe on I also found a pie crust recipe on The pie crust didn't need nearly the water it calls for in the recipe, and I totally forgot the butter in the pie. It tasted great, but did weep and separated. Can't complain about the flavor though. The picture looks good because it was taken before I refrigerated it and before it separated.

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 lemons, juiced and zested
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 egg yolks, beaten
  • 1 (9 inch) pie crust, baked
  • 4 egg whites
  • 6 tablespoons white sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. To Make Lemon Filling: In a medium saucepan, whisk together 1 cup sugar, flour, cornstarch, and salt. Stir in water, lemon juice and lemon zest. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until mixture comes to a boil. Stir in butter. Place egg yolks in a small bowl and gradually whisk in 1/2 cup of hot sugar mixture. Whisk egg yolk mixture back into remaining sugar mixture. Bring to a boil and continue to cook while stirring constantly until thick. Remove from heat. Pour filling into baked pastry shell.
  3. To Make Meringue: In a large glass or metal bowl, whip egg whites until foamy. Add sugar gradually, and continue to whip until stiff peaks form. Spread meringue over pie, sealing the edges at the crust.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes, or until meringue is golden brown.

Pie crust

  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening (I used butter flavored)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cold water (I only used 1/2 of this to start, and it was too much. I had to add more flour.
  1. Mix shortening, flour, and salt together with a fork or a pastry blender until very crumbly. Add as much water as needed to hold together, and mix lightly with a fork.
  2. Roll gently on a floured pastry cloth to about an inch larger than pie plate. Fold carefully in half, lift to pie plate, and unfold. Press into pan. For a single-crust pie, trim with a small knife to about 1/2 inch beyond rim. Fold up, and pinch so edge of pie is raised from rim.
I had to look around for some baking directions. I baked at 400 for 15 minutes.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

sloppy joes

Had to make these this evening for blue and gold. Not my favorite recipe. It had a bit of a tang from the brown mustard, but mostly it was just really sweet for a sloppy joe. I also didn't think it was "sloppy" enough, and I even added extra Ketchup. I'd definitely go with my mom's sloppy joe recipe (I'll post this on the weekend) or just buy Mamwich. But I post it just because maybe someone likes a sweet and a bit tangy sloppy joe.

Sloppy Joes
By Christy's Clipart
This is Mac's favorite and it is great to freeze to:)
1 pound ground beef
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped (I use 1/3 Cup dried minced onion to make it quicker)
1/2 cup ketchup
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon brown mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
TO Freeze: I brown and drain the ground beef, you can either sauté the onion with the beef or just add the minced dried onion without cooking it. I let the ground beef cool, toss in a freezer Ziploc bag, add the minced onion, and all the other ingredients, and freeze.

When you're ready to eat it, thaw it, and reheat in a pan until it's warmed up. If you're just making it without freezing it, you would brown the beef and sauté the onion. Then add all the other ingredients and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes until sauce has thickened and divide between 4 hamburger buns and serve. (We like it over "homemade" bread machine bread, instead of worrying about having hamburger buns around). Nice and easy! I like that! =) Hope you enjoy! =)Karinna
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes
Category: Main Meals Servings: 4

Vegetarian Chili with corn, sour cream and cheese

Ok, so this is what my sparkpeople lunch plan looked like today:

Vegetarian Chili with Corn, Sour Cream and Cheese; Grapes; Cornbread with Butter Spray
Cheddar or Colby Cheese, Low Fat, 2 ozAdded 98 1 4 14
Vegetarian Chili RECIPE, 1 serving (view recipe)Added 141 23 3 7
Grapes, 18 grape, seedlessAdded 34 16 1 1
Yellow Sweet Corn, Canned, 0.2 cupAdded 27 6 0 1
Cornbread, 0.6 pieceAdded 104 17 3 3
I Can't Believe It's Not Butter, Original Buttery Spray, 5 sprays, 1 servingAdded 0 0 0 0
Sour Cream, reduced fat, 2 tbspAdded 41 1 4 1

This is the recipe for the chili


  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 medium carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped (I actually used 1 can petite diced for time and did not drain them.)
  • 2 15 oz. cans black beans, drained
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper, chili powder, or chili seasoning mix (I used a dash of chipotle powder and a pinch of cumin)
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, freshly chopped


1. Saute the onions and garlic in oil in a large sauce pan.

2. Add carrots, tomatoes, herbs, spices, and beans.

3. Cover (to retain moisture) and cook on medium heat for 15-20 minutes, or until the carrots are tender.

Serves 6.

Nutritional Info

Fat: 2.9g
Carbohydrates: 23.0g
Protein: 7.2g

This is what I did - I made the chili - divided into 6 portions, added a little under 1/3 cup corn to my chili - stirred that in. I actually only added 1 oz. of cheese because that was kind of a lot, and I only added 1 Tablespoon of sour cream. I stirred both of those in - the cheese first so it was still nice and hot and melted the cheese. Anyway, it was surprisingly tasty. Not too spicy, but I was really sparing with my chipotle powder because I haven't used it much and don't know how spicy it was. I'd definitely make it again, and it was healthy too. I froze 1/2 of it in individual serving sizes. We'll see how they defrost. I'd give it a 9/10.

menu Feb 25

I'm having a hard time with my menu planning this week. First of all, I'm trying to plan myself some lunches and breakfasts that are healthy because I'm actually trying to eat healthy so as not to continue gaining weight. (One of the problems of enjoying cooking. That and dishes.)
I also am not going to be in town one day, but my kids will be here with Grandpa, and the next day I'll be getting home, but later than dinner. Plus I have a birthday, and blue and gold - which is dinner. Making planning crazy. So I guess I'll be doing some drafting, but that should make it fork out.

Veggetarian chili (sparkpeople), corn, roll
Blue and Gold - sloppy joes

bagel with strawberries
left over pizza or chili
black bean and pumpkin chili

Marathon - protein bars and poweraid

cottage cheese and pineapple, toast, almond butter
chickpea stew

Tuna melt, grapes, celery
Chicken with asparagus (from last week) salad

Tuesday -Birthday
Cheese tortilla, apple (peach puff pancake)
salad, bran muffin (zucchini) white beans
Karley's pork, Lemon Bars

egg burrito

creamy noodle bake with spinach salad (Family Dinner Fix p. 56)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

chicken tostadas with mango salsa

This recipe is from a taste of home recipe card booklet I picked up at the grocery store. It was different. I was afraid that it would be too spicy with the serrano pepper so I made the salsa, divided it in half and only added it to half. I ate the peppered half and it wasn't too spicy. I wasn't overly impressed with this meal. I didn't care for the ginger flavor of the salsa. It didn't taste bad or anything, it just wasn't what I'm used to in a salsa, and I didn't care for it. It also seemed to be the biggest flavor of the meal (not that it was super powerful flavor, but I also only added 1 1/2 Tablespoons.) Anyway, it only rated 2.5 stars overall.

  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 5 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast halves
  • 2 medium mangoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 serrano pepper, seeded and minced
  • 2 Tablespoons finely chopped candied ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 corn tortillas (6 inch)
  • 3 cups coleslaw mix
  • 6 Tablespoons fat free sour cream
  1. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the orange juice, 3 tablespoons lime juice, garlic powder and cumin; Add chicken. Seal bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
  2. For salsa, in a small bowl, combine mangoes, onion, cilantro, serrano pepper, ginger, brown sugar, salt, and remaining lime juice. Cover and chill until serving
  3. Drain and discard marinade. Place chicken on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Broil 4-6 inches from heat for 5-7 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 170. Cut into thin strips.
  4. In a nonstick skillet, cook tortillas over medium heat for 1-2 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Top each with coleslaw mix, chicken, mango salsa and sour cream.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Asian Meatball Soup, baby carrots and dinner rolls

Recipe number 4 from my new book and still loving it. (Although looking at next week, I want to rearrange some things. Hmm. This was a super simple meal - especially today. You are supposed to make most of the soup the night before and let it sit in the fridge overnight. I actually made it the other day when I made hamburgers and stuck it in the freezer (minus about 1/2 of the chicken broth.) I took it out last night and left it to defrost on the counter. (Had I been thinking about it I would have taken it out yesterday morning to defrost on the counter during the day and marinate overnight, but I was preoccupied with birthday stuff yesterday.) Anyway, today I just had to dump everything in the crockpot and turn it on. That gave me time to make some rolls.
I liked all parts of this meal. The soup was really nice with a peppery flavor, but not too hot. (I did cut out 1/2 teaspoon hot chili sauce. That was perfect for us.) However, after surveying the family, they didn't like it as well. Brandon only gave it a 2. Bummer. I wasn't the hugest fan of the meatballs, but I think they would have been better if I would not have frozen them and they would have soaked up more marinade.
Everyone was a huge fan of the carrot dip though and it was so simple. We ate the whole bag of carrots with most wanting more to use more dip. Only Tavio didn't like it, but he doesn't like mayo or sour cream or pepper. It would get 5 star.

  • 1 1/2 lbs extra lean ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons fresh garlic (from a jar)
  • 1/2 onion, sliced)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger (from a jar) (I used a ginger/garlic mix -2 teaspoons of that and 1 teaspoon minced garlic)
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 60 ounces chicken broth (I used stock)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon hot chili sauce (tabasco - I used only 1 teaspoon)
  • 2 green onions
  • 10 ounces snow peas
  • 7 ounces egg noodles

The night before
  1. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Form ground beef into tight 1 inch balls, placing into fully boiled water as you form. Set timer for 7 minutes after the last meatball goes into the water.
  2. While these are cooking, combine garlic, onion, ginger, pepper, soy sauce, chicken broth and chili sauce in the inner crock of the slow cooker. When meatballs are done, drain, and add to the slow cooker. Cover and store in the fridge overnight.
In the morning
  1. Put inner crock in the slow cooker and set on low.
In the evening
  1. make noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse with hot water and set aside
  2. Slice green onions and add to slow cooker with the peas.
  3. Make carrot dip.
  4. Put noodles in bowls and ladle soup on top.

Cold Veggie dip
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise, light
  • 1/4 cup sour cream, fat free
  • 1 tsp Mrs. Dash Original seasoning

  1. Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Serve with 1 lb bag of baby carrots for this meal.

raisin and pecan wraps and wheat tortillas

So last night it was decided by DH and myself that we are eating better. For me, that means tracking my food on That way I can watch that I eat the right amount of calories, eat enough fruits and veggies, drink enough water etc. They actually will give you a menu for the day in your calorie range. Today's was a wrap that was yummy. They just listed the ingredients - no what to do with it or anything. In fact, I was actually supposed to have used the lettuce as a salad, not in the wrap because the title of the lunch was cream cheese, walnut and raisin wrap; salad and it had salad dressing included. I was only supposed to make 1 wrap, but that was way too much cream cheese for 1 wrap for me. I had my 1st wrap with the lettuce inside the wrap. I spread 1/2 of the cream cheese on the wrap, added the lettuce and sprinkled it with the raisins and pecans (I was out of walnuts.) I really liked it. I tried the second 1 without the lettuce. I'd actually saved more than 1/2 of the pecans and raisins so it would still be a good wrap, but I didn't like it as well. I took 1 bite, took a picture, opened it up and added the lettuce for the second wrap as well. I would definitely make this again. I'm always looking for something different for lunch. It is my most boring meal of the day for the most part.

  • 2 Tablespoons cream cheese (I used Neufchatel)
  • .75 ounces raisins (1/2 serving or 1/2 small box)
  • .75 ounces pecans (original recipe was pecans)
  • 2 wheat tortillas (they had regular tortillas - 6 to 8 inch)
  • 2 cups chopped romaine lettuce (worked out to be 3 leafs for me.)
  1. Spread 1 Tablespoon of the cream cheese on a tortilla. Place 1 cup of lettuce on top of cream cheese. Sprinkle with 1/2 of the nuts and raisins. Roll up.

I had no tortillas when I saw this recipe on sparkpeople this morning, so I looked for a recipe for tortillas. Since I'm trying to eat healthy, I looked for whole wheat. I found a recipe in my King Arthur whole grain book. It was sooooo much better than the wheat tortillas we bought from the store the week before last. They were really wheaty. These were really nice. I did add a tiny amount of white flour -like only 1 Tablespoon because when I weighed what I had left already ground, it was 7.9 ounces. I didn't want to grind more for .1 ounce. I also rolled it out on white.

  • 2 cups (8 ounces) white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons (1 1/4 ounces) vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup warm water
They have snazzy directions in my book, but I just tossed everything in a bowl and mixed it by hand. Let rest for 20 minutes. Turn onto lightly floured surface (I actually put out a heaping tablespoon of flour because the dough was a bit sticky. Knead dough a couple of times. Cut the dough into 10 to 12 pieces. (I made 10 - 12 would have been very small -I actually weighed them. Nutrition information said they were supposed to be 37 grams. That made 10 and 1 tiny one, but I just divided the tiny portion out and made 10 40-42 gram tortillas.) Cover and let rest for 20 minutes.
I have a cute little tortilla press/cooker, so I just stick my dough ball in it, flatten it, and it cooks right there. If you don't have such a nifty contraption, then you have to roll them out on a floured surface and cook them on a heavy, ungreased griddle over medium-high heat for about 1 minute each side.

oat rolls

The recipe I made for dinner called for a multigrain roll so I went to my King Arthur Flour whole grain baking book to find a recipe. I chose oat rolls because oat breads are usually pretty tasty. This was no exception. They were tender and tasty. 9 star. Not the fluffiest roll, but great flavor. I didn't put real melted butter on top, just a low fat tub butter which you can see in the picture.

  • 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons (9 oz) water
  • 2 Tablespoons orange juice (actually freshly squeezed this today.)
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
  • 3 Tablespoons (2 1/4 ounces) honey
  • 1 cup rolled oats (3 1/2 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (2 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ (1 1/8 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup oat bran (7/8 ounces)
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (8 1/2 ounces)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt (didn't add the last 1/4 teaspoon)
  • heaping 1/2 cup potato flakes (1 1/4 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) nonfat dry milk
  • 2 1/4 cups yeast
  1. Combine all ingredients in mixer and mix on low with dough hook until you have a medium soft, smooth dough. Cover and allow to rise until puffy, though probably not doubled in bulk, 1 to 2 hours. (mine were not ready in an hour and had actually a little more than doubled by the time I got back to them.)
  2. Grease a 9 X 13 pan. Gently deflate the dough and transfer to a greased work surface. Divide into 16 pieces. Shape each piece into a rough ball.
  3. Place rolls in the prepared pan, spacing evenly; they won't touch one another. Cover the pan with lightly greased plastic wrap or a proof cover (ha, I just laid a cutting board board (super thin, plastic one) on top. Let rise for 1 to 1 1/4 hours. They won't double in size, but will become about half again as large as they were originally. They should barely touch each other. Near the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 350.
  4. Uncover and bake until golden brown on top but still light colored on the sides, 25 minutes. Remove from oven, after 2 or 3 minutes carefully transfer to a rack. Brush hot rolls with melted butter. (I ended up leaving them in the pan because I was busy with the rest of dinner, but it was fine.)

sour cream cake and cream cheese frosting

Made a super cute birthday cake for Benjamin yesterday. I went looking for a recipe for a chocolate cake used a recipe that was highly rated everywhere, but honestly I was just not impressed. It used a cake mix -which I didn't care to do, but it was so highly rated that I decided to try it. Oh well. It was good enough for the 4 year old. He really just cared that I made it look like a dinosaur. The recipe I used was from Taste of Home magazine, but I saw many on allrecipes and other places varying oil amounts or changing the semisweet chocolate or omitting it altogether. It was ok, but nothing spectacular. I thought i had burned it, and it looks burned in the pictures but the toothpick wouldn't come out clean. Finally I quit sticking it in the spot that was split on the top and it came out clean, but then the middle was still super soft, nothing at all like the crumbly looking picture I had seen so who knows. The frosting was wonderful. I found that on allrecipes but changed it. I went to the store and bought all sorts of round brown candies. -reeces pieces, almond joy pieces, m & m's, and junior mints. I wouldn't suggest it. They all ended up being the same size. I ended up using chocolate chips and mini chocolate chips (upside down) for the smaller size spots. I'd just get junior mints and 1 other candy if doing it again.

Sour cream chocolate cake

  • 1 package chocolate cake mix
  • 1 package (4 serving size) instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 4 oz. semisweet chocolate.
Combine all ingredients. Transfer to 2 greased and floured 9 inch round pans. Bake at 350 for 28-32 minutes (I baked 36) or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

If you want to make a dinosaur, you can look it up on the betty crocker website (or so my magazine tells me. I changed up the tail and head from what was printed in my magazine to use more of the second cake. This is what it looked like pre-icing.

Cream cheese frosting

  • 2 8 oz. packages cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 Tablespoon milk
Beat all ingredients until smooth. I actually added another 1/2 Tablespoon of milk because I thought it was too thick with just 1/2 Tablespoon, but that made it a bit too thin for me. I wish I would have left it with just 1/2 Tablespoon. I just stuck it in the fridge to make it a little more solid.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

lemon bars

I saw a recipe for lemon bars the other day that I wanted to try, but I didn't write down where I had seen it. I felt like making it, but I couldn't find it again, so we looked at a lot of recipes and I settled on this one from allrecipes because it had lemon juice and lemon rind and I thought that would give it a better flavor. We even doubled the amount of lemon zest. The lemon part was great. I loved it, but the cookie part was too thick for me. More edible in the middle, but the edges especially were too thick. I think I could get away with using 1/2 of the recipe, and I'm pretty sure I saw recipes online with 1/2 as much crust ingredients, so next time I'll try that.

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Mix 2 cups of flour and confectioner's sugar together. Cut in the butter or margarine. Mix well until the dough resembles pie dough consistency. Press the dough into a 9x13 inch baking pan.
  3. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  4. Beat together eggs, sugar, 4 tablespoons flour, lemon juice and lemon rind for at least 1 minute. Pour the mixture over the baked crust.
  5. Bake the bars another 20 minutes, or until the lemon topping has set. Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar when cooled.

pina colada pudding cups

This recipe is from the taste of home recipe cards magazine. I had to make some adjustments because I didn't have any coconut extract. While it was tasty, it wasn't all that different than regular pudding. I'm really not sure the whipped topping added anything to the flavor. The kids all loved it because it was dessert.

  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 envelopes whipped topping mix
  • 2 packages instant vanilla pudding (the 4 serving size - 1 oz. if using sugar free - I actually used 1 package of sugar free vanilla and 1 package of coconut pudding.)
  • 2 cans (8 oz each) unsweetened crushed pineapple, undrained
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract (didn't have this, that's why I used the coconut pudding)
  • 1/4 cup flaked coconut, toasted (I toasted mine in a small frying pan.)
  • 8 maraschino cherries
  1. In a large bowl, whisk the milk, whipped topping and pudding mixes for 2 minutes. Stir in the pineapple and extract.
  2. Spoon into 8 dessert dishes, 3/4 cups in each (I used 6 dishes and added an extra 1/4 cup to most.) Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until chilled. Sprinkle each serving with 1 1/2 teaspoons coconut and top each with a cherry.

Everyday Cassoulet

This recipe is from last year's Betty Crocker Jan magazine. It was actually really tasty. It said it needed to cook for a lot longer than I cooked it, and it was still super tasty, with nice tender pork.

  • 4 strips bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 lb bulk pork sausage (I used reduced fat.)
  • 1/2 lb boneless pork tenderloin, cubed
  • 1/3 cup diced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cans cannellini beans, drained (I used great northern beans, a smaller white bean)
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup white wine or chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  1. Heat oven to 250. Cook bacon in skillet until crisp. Remove from skillet. (I then drained all of the fat.) Add sausage, cubed pork, onion and garlic to skillet. Cook until pork is brown, stirring occasionally to break up sausage. Stir in bacon and remaining ingredients. Pour into ungreased 2 1/2 quart casserole
  2. Cover casserole. Bake 1 hour 45 minutes. (I only baked 1 hour) Uncover; bake 15 minutes longer or until pork is fork tender and flavors are blended. Remove bay leaf.

Chocolate popcorn deluxe

This recipe is from Taste of homes healthy cooking magazine. It was supposed to be made using white chocolate, which I thought I had, but after starting the popcorn popping I found that it was really 2 packages of regular chocolate that I had not 1 white, 1 regular. Oops. I just used the regular chocolate. I also used more than 8 cups of popcorn because that is what 1 batch popped. I had to add another ounce of chocolate to get it all covered. Can't say that I measured any of the rest of the stuff though. I really would have liked the cranberries and pecans to stick in the popcorn, not fall to the bottom. Not sure how to solve that problem though. Bigger pieces of pecan would probably have been a good idea.

  • 8 cups air-popped popcorn (I used more like 12)
  • 2 squares (1 oz. each) white baking chocolate (I used 3 oz of regular chocolate)
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (I used pecans)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  1. Place popcorn in a large bowl. In a microwave, melt white chocolate and butter; stir until smooth. Pour over popcorn mixture and toss to coat. Add the cranberries, nuts and salt.
  2. Spread onto waxed paper. Cool until set. (I found this cooled as I tossed it and didn't do this step.) Store in an airtight container (I guess you can if you have left overs. We didn't.)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Red Snapper with Pineapple salsa, pecan wild rice and asparagus

Loving this new book The Family Dinner Fix Easy, nutritious, and tasty. Not to mention not boring. This is 3 for 3 that I have liked, and this was fish that isn't my favorite. We did not use red snapper because we haven't tried it on our family of non-fish eaters and Brandon didn't want to pay what they wanted for it if he thought everyone wouldn't like it, so we used Orange Roughy. I really liked the pineapple salsa. It was more like a chutney. It was also more like an Indian dish because the salsa was spiced with curry. The recipe called for hot curry and I used mild. Glad I did, there was still plenty of spice. I liked the rice when I first tried it. It was tastier after I'd eaten the fish with the salsa because it pared with it very well.
Another thing interesting about this cookbook is that it is written left to right, or in columns. The ingredients you will use are right next to the directions telling you what to do with them. Wasn't sure I'd like that setup but I do. OK, enough about the cookbook. Here's today's food. She had you microwave everything. I didn't, and I'll write what I did.

  • 1 can unsweetened pineapple tidbits (14 oz) -I couldn't find tidbits only chunks, and they came in a 20 oz can. We chopped them smaller and used them all.
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 Tablespoon hot curry paste (we used mild)
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 20 asparagus spears
  • 1 1/2 cups mixed rice
  • 3 cups water (I only used 2 1/2 in the rice cooker)
  • 2 Tablespoons peacans
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teasponn cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Original seasoning
  • 2 Tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs red snapper (we used orange roughy)
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons flour
  • 3 Tablespoons dry white wine
  1. Drain the juice and 1/2 the pineapple into a small saucepan. Finely chop the whole onion, but only put half of it in the pan. Add curry paste and stir. Heat on medium-low until reduced to thick salsa. Remove from heat. Add green onion, and the remaining red onion and pineapple. Stir and set aside.
  2. She steamed her asparagus in the microwave then reheated it at the end- I steamed mine on the stove in my steamer pot, but should have done this later. I left the lid on the steamer to keep it warm and kept it steaming resulting is soggy asparagus. Not so tasty.
  3. She also made her rice in the microwave - I did mine in my rice cooker. Combine rice and water in rice cooker bowl. Add chopped pecans, cinnamon, cloves and Mrs. Dash. Stir. Cook in rice cooker.
  4. Heat oil in a nonstick frying pan at medium high. Drizzle fish with lime juice. (Next time I think I'll just put it in a plate and then dunk the fish in it.) Sprinkle fish with spices and flour on all sides. (I just mixed the flour, basil, thyme, salt and pepper together then sprinkled that on the fish) Saute each side of fish for 1-2 minutes or until slightly brown. Add wine and reduce heat to medium. Cover for 2-6 minutes or until fish flakes through thickest piece with a fork.

Banana waffles

I felt like something different for breakfast after my run this morning. Got checking online and found this recipe for banana waffles on taste and tell, but they got it from cafe zupas. I had some bananas to use, so I decided to try it. I didn't follow the directions there at all - they had you puree your banana in the blender - why do I want more dishes when I can smash it with a fork? Anyway, I also added pecans and some cinnamon because it sounded good. They actually turned out better than I expected. I find that many waffle recipes are heavier than I like in my new waffle iron, but not the case with these. The cornmeal wasn't overpowering either. I kind of liked how it made the batter so yellow. In my large waffle iron, it only made 1 waffle - with a little bit of spill over that you can see in the picture. :)


  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ripe medium banana
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (I used a bit less - maybe tablespoon and a half
  • dash cinnamon
  • 2-3 Tablespoons pecans if desired
  1. In a bowl whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
  2. In another bowl, whisk together butter and eggs (I just barely melted my butter so it wasn't too hot for my eggs.) Add water and banana and whisk until well blended. (My banana was nice and ripe so I just smashed it with my whisk, but you may want to smash it with a fork in a separate bowl before adding it to the liquid if necessary)
  3. Mix the wet and dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in pecans.
  4. Bake in waffle iron. Mine only made the one, and I don't have to grease my waffle iron.
Serve waffles with syrup, but they are tasty enough plain to. I ate 1/2 of a square plain, then another square and a half with syrup.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Hamburger buns

I wanted to try a new hamburger bun recipe today. I like the one I have used, but it is a heavier bun - great for things like sloppy joes. However, today I felt like a softer bun. I found this one on the Taste of Home website. I thought they were great. Brandon only gives them 4 1/2 because they had wheat in them.

  • 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
  • 1-3/4 cups warm water (110° to 115°)
  • 1-1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup nonfat dry milk powder
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted, divided
  • 3-1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water; let stand 5 minutes. Add wheat flour, dry milk, sugar, salt, lemon juice, 3 tablespoons butter and 1 cup all-purpose flour. Beat until smooth. Add enough of the remaining all-purpose flour to form a soft dough.
  2. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  3. Punch down dough. Shape into 14 buns, (I made 12) about 3-1/2 in. in diameter. Place on greased baking sheets; brush with 1 teaspoon of remaining butter. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Bake at 375° for 14-16 minutes. Remove from baking sheets; brush with remaining butter. (I didn't brush these again.) Cool on wire racks. (I didn't bother cooling these on wire racks. They were fine.) Yield: 14 servings.

Mexican Hamburgers

Day 2 of the new cookbook and I'm not disappointed. I made these hamburgers following the recipe for 1/2 of the beef and cutting out some of the spice for the other 1/2 as noted in the directions. I loved them as written. The flavor was great. I've never used chipotle seasoning as a powder before. I liked the flavor. I did make some home made buns for the burgers. I used a different recipe today, but that will be my next post.
  • 2 lb lean ground beef (I used sirloin and about 2.25 lbs)
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle seasoning, salt free
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/3 cup salsa
  • toppings - cheese, tomatoes, red onion, lettuce, ketchup, mayo, salsa, ...
  • buns
  1. Preheat BBQ.
  2. Mix together beef, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and spices in a large bowl. (I added ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, pepper and cumin to the full batch, divided it in half, left 1/2 like that for the non-spicy people in the family and added 1/2 teaspoon chili powder and 1/2 teaspoon chipotle seasoning to the other 1/2 for the people who like more flavor. That worked great for my family. My non-spicy people still tried to tell me it was too spicy with just pepper. Silly people.)
  3. Form into 8 patties (I got 9 because I used a bit more meat. I have a scale and just weighed my meat out. They were 4.3-4.5 oz. each - nice 1/4 pound burgers.) Cook on BBQ until done (5-10 minutes on each side.) For cheeseburgers, add cheese on top of each patty for last 3 minutes of cooking.
  4. For last 2-3 minutes of cooking, toast the buns, cut side down on the grill. (I didn't even think to do this today. I didn't read the directions at all, just the ingredients. That would have been nice with the soft home made buns I made today. Oops.)
  5. To make a quick guacamole, mash 1 ripe avocado in a bowl using a fork. Stir in 1/4 cup salsa.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Spinach & Cheese Ravioli in a Tomato Tapenade with Green Beans

Recipe #1 out of the new cookbook. This was picked for speed today. It was very quick, and yummy. I could not fine the spinach and cheese ravioli that it called for in the refrigerator section. I did find spinach and cheese tortellini in the freezer section. I only bought 1 package (which is actually the amount called for in the recipe, but I knew I'd need more to feed the family.) I had some cheese tortellini at home so I added 2 cups of those.

  • 1/3 cup salsa (I used 1/2 cup)
  • 2 Tablespoons basil pesto (I used 3)
  • 1 Tablespoon Maple syrup (I used 1 1/2)
  • 3/4 lb spinach and cheese ravioli - I used a 12 oz. package of spinach and cheese tortellini plus 2 cups of cheese tortellini
  • 1 teaspoon butter or olive oil
  • 5 cups green or yellow frozen whole beans (I found a package of yellow and green beans with carrots.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce

  1. Cook ravioli (or tortellini) according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, combine salsa, pesto and maple syrup together in a small mixing bowl. Set aside.
  3. Melt butter in a nonstick frying pan at medium high heat. Add beans, lemon pepper and soy sauce. Toss to coat, then reduce heat to medium low. Stir often, until beans are hot, glazed and cruncy but tender.
  4. When timer rings for ravioli, drain ravioli in a colander. Heat tapenade mixture in the unclean pasta pot at medium heat until hot. Return ravioli to pot and fold gently until all the ravioli is evenly coated.
  5. Top with parmesan if desired. (we didn't.)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

southwestern stuffed turkey breast

This recipe is from a taste of home healthy cooking recipe cards booklet that I picked up at the grocery store. I'm actually on my second copy of that because I left my first one next to some beef I had defrosting and blood soaked through 1/2 of it. Since I had various recipes already chosen from that magazine and the ones I had tried were pretty good, I decided to go get myself a second copy. I wasn't disappointed with this recipe either. I did not buy a large turkey breast, but I think I would if I make this again. It would have been easier to roll. I just figured I'd use the chicken breasts I already had, and kind of thought of rolling them individually, but in the end I just laid the pieces side by side and rolled it as a group which was sloppy, but worked - it just wasn't particularly pretty. I really liked the mix of ingredients. I worried the crushed red pepper would give it too much spice, but it was fine.
I was also at the orthodontist with kids today for longer than expected so I just used some frozen diced onion and diced green peppers to speed things along.

  • 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in water - I buy the julienne cut ones.)
  • 2/3 cup boiling water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 small green pepper, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup frozen corn, thawed (I didn't bother thawing)
  • 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lime peel
  • 1 boneless skinless turkey breast half (2 pounds) I used 4 chicken breasts =2.5 lbs.
  1. Place tomatoes in a small bowl; cover with boiling water. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes (oops I didn't cover them when they were sitting there.) Drain, reserving 3 tablespoons liquid; set aside. Meanwhile, combine the seasonings in a small bowl.
  2. In a large skillet, caute the tomatoes, onion, green pepper, and garlic in oil until tender. Stir in corn and 2 teaspoons seasonings; remove from the heat. Stir in breadcrumbs and reserved tomato liquid. Add lime peel to remaining seasonings; set aside.
  3. Cover turkey with plastic wrap. Flatten to 1/2 inch thickness; remove plastic. Sprinkle turkey with half of lime-seasoning mix (I accidentally put all of it here -oops) Spread vegetable mixture to within 1 inch of edges. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a short side; tie with kitchen string. (Didn't do this either even though mine was separate pieces of chicken) Sprinkle with remaining lime-seasoning mixture. Place on a rack in a shallow roasting pan; cover loosely with foil. (I just put mine on a cookie sheet and covered with foil.)
  4. Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Uncover; bake 15-30 minutes longer or until a meat thermometer reads 170, basting occasionally with pan drippings. Let stand for 15 minutes before slicing. (I only baked it for 1 hour. I checked it at 40-45 minutes and it was already at 148-155 so I uncovered it and cooked it a little while longer. I had NO drippings to even think of basting it with - not that I checked very often - maybe because I used chicken instead of turkey.)

Menu Feb 17

So I got yet another new cook book. This one I actually ordered on Amazon way back in October or November but it was eternally backordered. They finally told me they weren't going to be able to send it so I found it "used" through Amazon. It isn't used at all. I have to check into that more often. I had to pay shipping and would not have with Amazon, but it was still cheaper than it would have been in the first place.
Anyway, the book I ordered is The Family Dinner Fix Cooking for the Rushed by Sandi Richard. She seems to plan like I do - variety, tries to get in veggies, but she also does things quick and organizes recipes by color (time taken to prepare/cook.) She even includes a rating from her family on a 10 point scale (totally making me consider changing my blog to a 10 point scale. I can't tell you how many times I've wanted to rate something 4.5, but that's another story.) Anyway, seems fun. I like that each recipe is a meal - includes a protein, starch, and veggie. The other plus about this book is that the grocery list is already printed for you. If you don't want to copy it out of the book, you can go online and print one.
So, I'm going to just take week 1 and give the recipes a try. I'm pretty excited. This will be my easiest week to plan ever. She only does a week of 5 meals, but I already had 2 meals on the calendar (but I will change one so I only have 1 fish. That is my maximum on fish. I don't like it.) Plus, the recipes look pretty good. The week includes

  • Mexican Hamburgers
  • Spinach and Cheese Ravioli in a Tomato Tapenade with Green Beans
  • Asparagus-stuffed chicken with Hollandaise and Greek Salad
  • Red Snapper with Pineapple Salsa, Pecan Rice and Asparagus
  • Asian Meatball soup, baby carrots and dinner rolls
Then from what I already had planned
  • Chicken Tostada with mango salsa from TOH RC p. 16
  • Everyday cassoulet BC '09 page 16 (pork with beans)
Other things I want to try
mac and cheese here or here

Tarka Dhal

This could have been good, but there were issues with the recipe. First of all it called for 115 g/4 oz/ or 1/4 cup masoor dhal, then 50 g/2 oz/ 1/4 cup moong dhal - those didn't work out -the weight and measure of the first didn't work out at all. We used the weight. (those are both types of lentils -they are pictured in the previous post.) Then it took a lot longer to cook than it said. It was still crunchy after 15 minutes, after 20 minutes, after 25 minutes. We started covering it after the first 15 minutes. I'd cover it from the beginning next time. It was also way too salty. I couldn't eat it because of how salty it was. I tried to taste the flavor past the salt and I actually think it was pretty good, but it was hard to taste. I did not make the tarka topping or the garnish because I didn't have any more time for getting dinner ready, and it would just make it spicier which I figured the kids wouldn't like as much. I was very glad I didn't waste my time when it turned out so salty. I do think it could be tasty if I cut the salt way down which is why I'm bothering to include the recipe.

  • 4 oz masoor dhal (That turned out to be about 1/2 cup maybe a bit more.
  • 1/4 cup moong dhal
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon ginger pulp
  • 1 teaspoon garlic pulp (again I used 2 teaspoons of the ginger/garlic mix I had bought)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 fresh green chilies (I used about 1 Tablespoon canned diced green chilies)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt - (DO NOT use this much - maybe 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon maximum)
Tarka Ingredients (I did not make this but it could be good especially if you like spicy food)
  • 2 Tablespoons oil
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon mixed mustard and onion seeds
  • 4 dried red chilies
  • 1 tomato, sliced
Garnis Ingredients (didn't make this either for time, but it also could be good.)
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
  • 1-2 gresh green chilies, seeded and sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  1. Boil the 2 lentils in the water with the ginger and garlic pulp, turmeric and chopped green chilies for 15-20 minutes until soft. (Cover to make this quicker.)
  2. Mash the lentils mixture with a fork or pound with a rolling pin until the consistency of a creamy chicken soup. (We used a potato masher.)
  3. If the lentil mixture looks too dry, add a little more water. Season with the salt.
  4. To prepare the tarka, heat the oil in a heavy -based frying pan and fry the onion with the mustard and onion seeds, dried red chilies and tomato for 2 minutes.
  5. Pour the tarka over the mashed lentils and garnish with fresh coriander, green chilies and mint.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Chicken Pilau

Today we had Indian food. We have a cookbook called The New Indian Cooking Course that I decided to try out. I like Indian food, just haven't tried making it too much, and had never tried anything from this book. It was quite tasty. We had this with some lentils - they were awful - too salty -see next post. We did have to shop around for the ingredients. I had looked around at my local grocery stores, and not found what we needed. Then we went to a grocery store called Fiesta that has more foods from other cultures, and still found it difficult to find some items, but while there we ran into an Indian guy who sent us to a little Pak-Indi grocer to get the rest of our ingredients. I took a picture of our cookbook and some of the ingredients we used that were not normal. We found the garlic/ginger paste at the HEB, the 2 types of lentils and mustard seed at Fiesta, and the onion seed at the Indi-Pak grocery store. Everyone really liked this chicken dish. I did use a lot more chicken than it called for. I also was super lazy -(OK, I guess it can't be called lazy if you are making 3 different recipes for 1 meal, but I did take many short cuts which I will note in parenthesis. It actually made this portion of the meal relatively simple.)

  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 6 Tablespoons low fat margarine (I used butter)
  • 1 medium onion, sliced (I used 3/4 -1 cup frozen diced onions)
  • 1/4 teaspoon mixed onion and mustard seeds (we used 1/8 of each - didn't have them mixed.)
  • 3 curry leaves - we were told these were out of season that we could substitute bay leaves which we did.
  • 1 teaspoon ginger pulp
  • 1 teaspoon garlic pulp (I bought a ginger/garlic stir fry mix and used 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tomatoes sliced (I used 1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained)
  • 1 medium potato, cubed (I used frozen diced potatoes (hash browns) 1/2 -1 cup)
  • 1/3 cup frozen peas
  • 6 oz boneless skinless chicken, cubed - I used 1 chicken breast but it was 14 oz.
  • 4 Tablespoons chopped fresh coriander -didn't use this -it is cilantro by the way
  • 2 green chilies, chopped - didn't use this either
  • 3 cups water
  1. Wash the rice and soak in cold water for 30 minutes, then set aside in a sieve to drain.
  2. In a medium - heavy based saucepan, melt butter and saute the onion until brown.
  3. Add the onion and mustard seeds, curry leaves, ginger, garlic, ground coriander, chili powder and slat. Stir-fry for about 2 minutes.
  4. Add teh tomatoes, potato, peas, and chicken to the onion and mix everything together well.
  5. Add the rice to the pan and stir gently to combine with all the other ingredients.
  6. Finally, add teh fresh coriander and green chilies (if using) Mix and stir-fry for a further 1 minute. Pour in the water.
  7. Bring the rice to a boil then lower the heat. cover and cook for about 20 minutes.

Tender Sour Cream Waffles

I was looking at breakfast recipes over on realmomkitchen yesterday. I really want to try donuts one day, but I don't need the extra calories right now, so I settled for a waffle recipe. I really liked this one. I doubled the recipe found on her website. But I didn't double the sugar or the oil. I did sub out applesauce for the oil I cut out. They still turned out delicious. Warning - use a big bowl if making this recipe. I'm writing it out how I made it which was a double batch with modifications. My first waffle stuck like crazy to my waffle iron, but the rest were ok.
I'd love to try her syrup recipe listed with the waffle recipe, but didn't today because I still had left over apple cider syrup from french toast sticks the other day.
The picture has 1/2 with peanut butter and maple syrup - my preferred way to eat waffles (although not the most beautiful picture) the other half is with the syrup I wanted to use. Yum.

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon. baking soda
  • 1/2 teastpoon salt
  • 6 large eggs, seperated
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cup2 buttermilk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup applesauce

Heat waffle iron. Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add egg yolks, sour cream, buttermilk, vanilla, oil, applesauce and blend well. In seperate bowl, beat eggs whites until soft peaks form when beaters are lifted. Gently fold egg whites into creamed mixture until no white streaks remain. Pour 1 cup of mixture into belgian waffle maker and bake until done. (1/2 cup for regular waffle iron. - my waffle iron actually takes 2 cups.)

Monday, February 15, 2010

lime carrots

Here is the side I made with maple pork chops. They were ok. I liked the sauce - not sure I liked it with carrots - don't know exactly what made them only ok. I steamed my carrots rather than microwaving them. Then I made the sauce while the carrots were steaming. I had trouble with the sauce. I will write about that in the directions.

  • 1 lb. baby carrots
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 Tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lime peel
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dill weed
  1. Place carrots and water in a microwave safe bowl. Cover and microwave on high for 4 - 6 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain and keep warm. (I just steamed these.)
  2. Place brown sugar and butter in another microwave-safe bowl; cover and cook on high for 30-45 seconds or until sugar is dissolved. (I couldn't get the sugar to dissolve. I kept microwaving it for 30 more seconds, 30 more seconds... finally I added the lime juice and it dissolved in 2 more 30 second rounds, but probably would have been fine after 45 seconds.) Stir in the remaining ingredients. Pour over carrots; toss to coat. (I just threw the carrots in the bowl that teh sauce was in and stirred.)

Maple pork chops

These come from my simple and delicious magazine. They were on the same page as lime carrots which will be my next post. I actually really liked the sauce that went with the pork. If I ever get this converted to a 10 star scale, this would be a 9.

  • 4 boneless pork loin chops (6 oz. each) I actually used about 6 thin little chops I had - totaling 1.5 lbs all together.
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  1. Sprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper. In a shallow bowl, beat egg and ginger. Place bread crumbs in another shallow bowl. Dip chops in egg mixture, then coat with crumbs.
  2. In a large skillet, cook pork in butter over medium heat for 5 - 7 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 160. REmove and keep warm.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients to the skillet; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Serve with chops.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Soutwest pretzels and queso

So we ate our pot roast early then needed something for a lighter dinner and this is what I came up with. The pretzel recipe is from Taste of Home's Simple and delicious magazine, and I found the queso recipe on Taste of Home's website. I thought it was wonderful. I did cut out the cayenne pepper and doubled the cumin afraid that the pretzels would be too spicy for the kids, but they weren't spicy at all that way. I think next time I will try them with the cayenne so I'm including it on the recipe here with what I did in parenthesis. For the queso I did half of what the original recipe called for, changed the amounts of the types of cheeses... so I'm writing that out exactly as I did it. It was the perfect amount of queso and pretzels for our family, but some of the kids didn't like the queso. I thought the queso was very sticky for a dipping queso, but I loved the flavor. I kept it warm in a mini crock pot and just served a spoonful at a time and that worked for us.

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 pkg (1/4 oz.) quick rise yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried minced onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin (I used 1/2 today)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I omitted this today)
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (120-130 -mine was 118)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • coarse salt
  1. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, salt, minced onion and spices. Add water. Beat just until moistened. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough (I used all 2 cups)
  2. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 4-6 minutes (I just left it in my mixer with the dough hook.) Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Divide dough into 16 equal parts. (I made a circle and cut it in pie shapes. I liked that because it seemed to make rolling it out nice and easy.) Roll each portion into a 15-in. rope. (I used parchment paper as a guide. It is 15 inches.) Cover and let rest 10 minutes longer.
  3. Twist into pretzel shapes. Place on greased baking sheets (I just put it on parchment.) Brush with egg. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Brush again with egg; sprinkle with coarse salt. (I found that I had to brush them individually then salt them. When I brushed them all and went to salt them, the salt didn't stick because the egg dried to fast on the warm pretzels.) Bake 10-13 minutes longer or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks. Serve pretzels warm with dip.

  • 3/4 small onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 4 oz. can (2 ounces) chopped green chilies
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup milk

In a saucepan, saute onion and garlic in butter until tender. Add chilies; cook and stir for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Gradually add small amounts of cheeses and milk; stir until melted after each addition. Serve warm.

slow cooked caribbean pot roast

This is today's recipe. I've been wanting to try this all week, but kept forgetting to defrost my beef, nor did I seem to have time any day to get it in the crock pot in the morning. It has my curiosity because of all the spices in it. Can't wait to try the mix of flavors. This was quite tasty. I thought the sweet potatoes got a bit overdone, so I would make larger than 1 inch chunks next time. I also wasn't impressed with the meat being chuck roast. I think next time I'll use a sirloin. I've had lots better luck with sirloin lately. This just had a lot of fat and gristle. It gets a 6-7 star for today, but with a better cut of meat would be 8 or 9.

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, cubed
  • 2 large carrots, sliced (I used 3 medium)
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery (I used 2 stalks, but that was probably more than 1/4 cup.)
  • 1 boneless beef chuck roast (2 1/2 lbs - mine was 3)
  • 1 Tablespoon oil
  • 1 large onion, chipped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minces
  • 1 Tablespoon flour
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 3/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamin
  • 3/4 teaspoon grated orange peel
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking cocoa
  • 1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce
  1. Place potatoes, carrots and celery in a 5 quart slow cooker. In a large skillet, brown meat in oil on all sides. Transfer meat to slow cooker.
  2. In the same skillet, saute onion in drippings until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Combine the flour, sugar, brown sugar, seasonings, orange peel and cocoa. Stir in tomato sauce; add to skillet and heat through. Pour over beef. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or until beef and vegetables are tender.

rice pilaf

This is from my food nanny cookbook as well. It seemed quite similar to her parmesan risotto. However, it was WAY too peppery. No one liked the amount of pepper in it, even those who like spicier foods. I like this way of making rice - sauteeing onions in butter, then adding the rice, and cooking the chicken in the broth, but I wanted more flavor or texture to my rice. I'd do this recipe again if I added diced carrots or something, and cut the pepper at least in half. Surprisingly - the baby ate it and would only eat this. Go figure. I had to mix the chicken in with rice to get him to accidentally get some chicken in him.

  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter.
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 to 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt (I'd reduce this next time.)
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper (definitely reduce next time.)
  • 1 1/4 cups long-grain white rice
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth (I used stock)
  1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, salt, and pepper. Stir until the onion is soft but not brown. Stir in the rice until it is well-coated. Add teh broth and bring to a boil.
  2. Cover, decrease the heat, and simmer until the rice is tender and teh liquid is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes.

Easy chicken cordon bleu

This recipe is from the Food Nanny cookbook. It was simple enough, but I have made better cordon bleu before. This one had entirely too much butter. I cut the butter in half, and it was still swimming in a pool of butter when it came out of the oven. I can't see how that much butter was necessary if it was just going to pool at the bottom. I also cut the cheese in half. Her original recipe called for small boneless chicken breasts - I had large so I cut them in half, but then it wanted a full piece of swiss and a full tablespoon of butter in the roll. I just put 1/2 slice of cheese, and 1/2 Tablespoon butter. I also had super thin sliced ham so I used 2 pieces instead of 1. I'll write it how I made it. She also made homemade bread crumbs, but I was lazy last night so I just used pre-made. This is how I made it.

  • bread crumbs - I didn't measure, I just sprinkled them on straight from the conatainer.
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 16 slices ham (mine were small and super thin, use only 8 if you have thicker or larger ham.)
  • 8 slices swiss cheese
  • 1 stick of butter (half or even 1/4 this would be better.)
  1. Pound the chicken to 1/8 inch thick. Cut the breasts in half (Mine are always large and need this. Not sure where recipe books find their chicken breasts, but they are always smaller than what I find in the store. If using smaller breasts, use twice the chicken breasts.)
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 and grease a 9 X 13 inch baking dish.
  3. Sprinkle each breast with salt. Add 2 slices ham, 1/2 slice cheese, 1/2 Tablespoon butter (go with 1/4 or 1/8 in the future) and a sprinkling of bread crumbs. Roll up the breasts tightly and tuck in the ends. Place them seam side down in teh prepared baking dish. (I thought these would need to be secured with a toothpick, but they were fine without it.) When you have all the breasts in the baking dish, top with 1/2 teaspoon butter (use less or omit next time) and 1/2 slice swiss cheese.
  4. Bake 40-50 minutes, basting occasionally (Oops, never basted them) Cover the dish with foil when the chicken browns to prevent it from drying out. (It never really browned too much.) The chicken is done when it is tender and no longer pink - I just waited until it was 160 on the thermometer.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Enchilada lasagna

This is from a healthy cooking magazine. I actually did use the wheat tortillas it called for, but not ground turkey or fat-free cream cheese. It was moderately rated my my older boys - 3-4 star or 6 from one and 7 from the other on a 10 point scale. I'd give it a 4. I thought it was pretty good. I liked the creaminess the cream cheese gave it. I also liked the nice enchilada flavor without too much spice. Forgot to take my picture until we were serving seconds. Hence the dirty plate - oops.
This recipe came with freezer instructions which I included but did not try.

  • 1 lb ground turkey (I used my pre-cooked ground beef.
  • 1 large onion, chopped (I used a smaller onion)
  • 1 large green pepper, chopped
  • 1 small sweet red pepper, chopped (I used 1/2 a large)
  • 1 8 oz package cream cheese (I used reduced fat)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 10 oz. can enchilada sauce
  • 6 whole wheat flour tortilla (8 inch)
  • 1 cup shredded reduced-fat mexican cheese blend - (I used 2 cups of the regular fat)
  1. In a large skillet, cook turkey, onion and peppers over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain (I just heated my pre-cooked meat with the veggies until they were tender.) Stir in cream cheese and chili powder.
  2. Pour enchilada sauce in a shallow bowl (I used a plate.) Dip tortillas in sauce to coat. Place 2 tortillas in a 9 X 13 pan coated with cooking spray; spread with half of the turkey (or beef) mixture. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup cheese. REpeat layers. Top with remaining tortillas and cheese.
  3. Cover and freeze for up to 3 months or bake, uncovered at 400 for 20-25 minutes or until heated through and cheese is meltes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Ser ve with salsa and sour cream if desired.
  4. To us frozen lasagna: Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Remove from the frige 30 minutes before baking. Bake as directed.

Chicken and cranberry sauce

Made this last night. It was pretty easy and quick and yummy. Can't beat that. Most of the family liked it. Benjamin didn't like the cranberry sauce. This picture won because it was the only one of the 3 I took that had decent looking jello - the others looked like I had put egg yolks in it.

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 3/4 cups water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (4 oz each) (Mine were more like 8-10 oz so I chopped them in half and pounded the thicker half so they were even thickness.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (I didn't measure this)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper (didn't measure this either)
  • 1 Tablespoon oil (wow, I look like I'm anti-measuring, but I can eyeball 1 Tbs.)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  1. In a small saucepan, combine the cranberries, water and sugar. Cook over medium heat until berries pop, about 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. In a large nonstick skillet, cook chicken in oil over medium heat for 4-5 minutes on each side or until juices run clear. (I just cooked it until it was 160) Stir syrup into cranberry mixture; server with chicken.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cinnamon French Toast sticks with spicy cider syrup

This is my favorite french toast recipe. It comes from a Gold Medal recipe magazine/book I picked up ages ago. I had thought it was one of my betty crocker or pillsbury ones until I looked today. It is one of my favorites for breakfast. Mine is totally dilapidated. I only thought to get it out because in Trent's weekly e-mail to mom, he asked for a french toast recipe. I was happy, because this was a great breakfast. I ran completely out of regular flour while making the first batch, so the syrup and second batch were made with wheat flour that I had ground. They were still just as tasty, although I think the syrup usually thickens a bit more. I have to remember next time I make this to double it the first time though. Today I added more cinnamon to the syrup and less nutmeg and I liked that lots better than the way I usually make it.

French toast Ingredients (double for a family)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 10 slices sandwich bread, cut into thirds (I only used about 8)
  1. Heat griddle to 375. Grease with cooking spray.
  2. Beat all ingredients except bread until smooth. Dip bread sticks into batter; Drain excess batter back into bowl (I don't do this - probably why I only used 8 slices of bread.)
  3. Place bread sticks on griddle. Cook about 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
  4. Serve with syrup
Spicy cider syrup Ingredients
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (I used 1/2 today and liked it better.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (I used 1/2 of the 1/4 so 1/8 today and liked it better.)
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (that was less that the 1 large lemon I squeezed)
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine (Oops I forgot this today -I was in a hurry trying to get this done before Tavio had to go to school. I usually put it in but I didn't miss it.)
  1. Mix sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg ina 2 quart saucepan. Sir in cider and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. (I didn't stir constantly today I was making the french toast - I stirred occasionally and it was fine.) Boil and stir 1 minute; remove from heat. Stir in butter.

three-cheese manicotti

This is from the simple and delicious magazine again although I changed this one up a decent amount. It turned out delicious. Not to ricottaey. I'll write through the recipe my changes.

  • 12 uncooked manicotti shells - I used all 14 in the package but the last one was mozzarella
  • 1 lb. ground turkey (I used my pre-cooked beef)
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped (totally didn't even see this ingredient when making it)
  • 1 jar (26 oz.) three-cheese spaghetti sauce (I used some of the Marinara I had left in the freezer. It wasn't quite 26 oz. so I added an 8 oz can of tomato sauce with some added herbs to make up the difference knowing that the marinara was plenty flavorful because it was home made.)
  • 2 tsp. sugar (left this out on purpose - didn't see the need my marinara was tasty)
  • 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp. onion powder (I don't have this, and didn't use it thinking that I had onion in my precooked beef because I didn't even see I was supposed to add onion.)
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar-monterey jack cheese (The store I usually go to had had no power last week when I went so I couldn't buy cheese, I went to a different store the next day, but they didn't have this blend so I bought mexican blend because I couldn't remember the recipe I was using it for and that blend included cheddar and jack cheeses along with asadero and something else)
  • 1 carton (15 oz) ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided (I used 1/4 cup for the filling and topped the casserole with mozarella)
  • 1 egg
OK, my ingredients are entirely too wordy for myself to ever read again, so I'm rewriting exactly what I did unconventional as it was because it was tasty and I'd like to remake it.
  • 14 uncooked manicotti shells
  • 1 lb. ground beef (I used my pre-cooked beef)
  • 1 8 oz can tomato sauce with onion, garlic and basil (Maybe - the one with seasoning)
  • 20 oz. marinara sauce
  • 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 cups shredded mexican blend cheese
  • 1 carton (15 oz) ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup mozarella cheese
  • 1 egg
  1. Cook manicotti according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, cook turkey and onion until done, (or just add pre-cooked beef.) Stir in the spaghetti sauce, Italian seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder. (I simmered this while I combined the filling.) Place 1 cup meat sauce into a greased 9 X 13
  3. In a large bowl, combine the cheddar-jack sheese, ricotta, 1/4 cup parmesan and egg. Stuff into manicotti shells. (I used a plastic baggie and cut the corner off - note to self, use a stronger baggie -it sprung a leak and I did the rest by hand - not nearly as easy.) Place shells over meat sauce. Top with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan (but I used mozzarella.) Cover and bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes. (Oops, I forgot to cover it. It still trned out ok. I also only cooked it for 30 minutes because I had hungry kids.)

  1. Drain manicotti. In a


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