Monday, May 31, 2010

Marinated veggie/beef kabobs

This recipe is from my Taste of Home Magazine for this month.  It was Memorial day so I felt like barbecue, and these looked new and different.  Really I chose them because they had something besides bell peppers and onions on the kabobs.  They also had a the marinade for the veggies which was something I had not done before.  I thought the flavor was great, but they felt too oily for me.  I don't like my food to feel oily.
Since I wasn't really allowed to help much, these got taken off the kabobs before I could get a picture.  I had also bought 2 plantains which we grilled.  I would have sliced them into long slices and grilled them, but DH sliced them in skinny slices and skewered them like the rest of the food.


  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons seasoned salt
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1 beef top sirloin steak (1 1/2 pounds) cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 8 cherry tomatoes (DH cooked and didn't use these - we even have some in the garden :(
  • 1 large red onion (he didn't use this either.)
  • 1 medium green pepper (he used a yellow and a red)
  • 1 yellow summer squash (he used 2)
  • 1 medium zucchini (he used 2)  
  1.  In a small bowl, combine first eight ingredients.  Place half of the marinade in a large zip top bag.  Add the beef, seal bag and turn to coat.
  2. Pour remaining marinade into another large zip top bag.  Add tomatoes.  Cut remaining veggies into 1 inch pieces.  Add to bag.  Seal bag and turn to coat.  Refrigerate beef and veggies for at least 2 hours.
  3. Coat grill with cooking spray.  Heat grill.  Drain and discard marinade from beef.  Drain and keep marinade from veggie to use as baste.
  4. Thread meat and veggies on skewers.  Grill covered over medium heat for 10-15 minutes basting frequently with reserved marinade.

German's Chocolate Cake

This is a favorite around our house.  My favorites are this and carrot, but I just had carrot for Mother's day, so for my birthday, German's chocolate won.  This is the recipe from the package of Baker's German's chocolate bar.  DH has tried other recipes on other birthday years, but this remains my favorite, and since I had experimental carrot cake recipe, I wanted the one I knew I loved today.

Cake  Ingredients

  • 1 pkg. (4 oz.) BAKER'S GERMAN'S Sweet Chocolate
  • 1/2 cup  water
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp.  baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup  (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4   eggs, separated
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup  buttermilk

PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Cover bottoms of 3 (9-inch) round cake pans with wax paper; grease sides of pans. Microwave chocolate and water in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 1-1/2 to 2 min. or until chocolate is almost melted, stirring after 1 min. Stir until chocolate is completely melted.
MIX flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in melted chocolate and the vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk, beating until well blended after each addition.
BEAT egg whites in small bowl with electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Gently stir into batter. Pour evenly into prepared pans.
BAKE 30 min. or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Immediately run small metal spatula around cake layers in pans. Cool in pans 15 min.; remove layers from pans to wire racks. Remove and discard wax paper. Cool cake layers completely. Spread Coconut-Pecan Filling and Frosting between cake layers and onto top of cake.

Frosting Ingredients
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 can  (12 oz.) evaporated milk
  • 1-1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1-1/2 cups  sugar
  • 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter or margarine
  • 1 pkg.  (7 oz.) BAKER'S ANGEL FLAKE Coconut (about 2 2/3 cups - I always use more closer to 4 cups.)
  • 1-1/2 cups PLANTERS Chopped Pecans

BEAT egg yolks, milk and vanilla in large saucepan with wire whisk until well blended. Add sugar and butter; cook on medium heat 12 min. or until thickened and golden brown, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
ADD coconut and pecans; mix well. Cool to room temperature and of desired spreading consistency.

fabulous green beans

These too are from my taste of home magazine.  They really were fabulous.  I did change them.  I cut out 2 Tablespoons of butter and a Tablespoon of olive oil.  I can't imagine putting 5 Tablespoons of butter/oil on 1 lb of beans.  That would be too greasy for me.  I also added a bit of lemon.  They were delicious.


  • 1 lb fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  1. Place beans in a steamer and  steam for 8-10 minutes or until crisp-tender (I like mine a little more tender so I steam them a bit longer.)
  2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat the remaining ingredients until butter is melted.  Transfer beans to a serving bowl; drizzle with butter mix.  Toss to coat.

Grilled pork chops

This recipe is from my taste of home magazine.  It is very similar to another pork chop recipe that I just did, only it used pepper rather than steak seasoning, and it didn't have a time limit for the marinade.  This time around I just used 4 large chops and then we sliced them to serve them.  They did turn out tasty.

  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 pork loin chops (they had bone in, but I prefer boneless, so that is what I used.)
  1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a small bowl.  Place meat in a zip top bag and pour marinade over it.  Seal and turn to coat.  Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
  2. Grill chops, covered over medium heat or broil 4 inches from teh heat for 4-5 minutes on each side until it is 160.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

cutting mats

There are just some products I really like in my kitchen. as I was chopping stuff for stroganoff the other day, I thought about how much I like these cutting mats, so I took a picture of them. I have 4 big ones and 2 little. One for veggies, one for red meat, one for chicken, one for fish, and actually 2 tiny ones for nuts or cheese. All but the tiny ones have cute pictures on them so you know what they are for. You can keep things seperate, you can curl them up to funnel things into a pot of bowl, and then throw them into the dishwasher to clean them. (This is actually my favorite thing about them.) They can curl, but I don't really have trouble with them staying put while I cut, so I like them. Just thought I'd share.  They are convenient.
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chocolate covered cherries freeze

This recipe is from my Hungry girl book.  It was sooo tasty.  I actually made 2 versions of it - a diet one which I followed the recipe in her book quite closely so I'm not posting that other than my notes (used 1 50 cal. and 1 20 cal hot cocoa mix and 2 T splenda because I don't have packets.  I also added a couple extra cherries then went with the smaller number of ice cubes.)  It is on page 205 of the book if you want that version.  However, I also made a non diet version for the kids.  That is what I am posting here.  Although the picture I took is of the low cal version (not that they look any different or anything.)  I actually made a triple batch to split between the 4 boys.  I put the ingredients listed as I made them with a single batch ingredients in parenthesis


  • 9 Tablespoons (3 T) hot cocoa  (If you have hot cocoa packets, 3 packets.  I just have some canned cocoa from the cannery and 1 serving is 3 T so that is what I used.)
  • 3 Tablespoons (1 T) mini semi-sweet chocolate chips 
  • 40 frozen pitted dark sweet cherries (12 - I just added more)
  • 24 ice cubes (8-10)
  • Redi whip
  1. Place cocoa and chocolate chips in a cup.  Add 3/4 cup (1/4 cup) hot water and stir until chips dissolve.  (I only used tap water and it was hot enough to melt the chips.) Add 3/4 cup (1/4 cup) cold water and stir. (I got mine from the fridge door to be a little cooler)
  2. Pour into a blender and add cherries and ice.  Blend until smooth.
  3. Pour into a glass and top with a squirt of redi whip.  

Chicken Taquitos

Well, I got the idea for these from Hungry Girl's book.  She calls them exploding chicken taquitos, but I didn't do a good job of following directions (imagine that.)  What I really loved about this recipe is that I had some chicken we had overcooked one day making the precooked chicken that we always make as a time saver.  I  had ground that up and thrown it into the freezer, but never had a use for it.  This recipe had you add some salsa to some canned chicken so I used my dried, shredded chicken and ended up adding double the salsa and then some taco sauce.  Then somehow I forgot to add the cheese and had to go back and add it, I didn't microwave the tortillas long enough and they weren't pliable enough....... So much for a quick lunch.  I hope they turn out well.  They are currently in the oven.

They were quite tasty, although lots busted. -see the picture.  Definitely get them hot before rolling them.


  • precooked chicken, shedded or chopped very fine (I had a little over 10 oz.)
  • 1 cup salsa (I used this much because my chicken was dry,  you may not need this much.  I started with 1/2 a cup, then added another 1/2 cup
  • Taco sauce - not sure how much I added -about 1/3 cup.  I wanted to make my mix a little moist, but not dripping or anything
  • cheese - I used fat free cheddar - not sure the amount I used, I'd say 1/2-1 cup depending on how cheesy you want them
  • corn tortillas - I ended up making 
  1. Mix chicken, salsa, and taco sauce and cheese - let stand while preparing the everything else.
  2. Preheat oven to 375, spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray and set aside
  3. Dampen 2 paper towels with water.  Place tortillas between them.  Microwave for about 1 minute.  (I started this way, but they were not pliable enough.  I made a bunch and they split...  I ended up going back and microwaving 2-3 at a time for 30 seconds.  That worked a lot better.  They came out super hot, but very pliable.  I would suggest doing them that way.
  4. Take 1 tortilla at a time (leaving the rest in the paper towel.)  Spray both sides with cooking spray.  Spoon about 2 Tablespoons of filling onto the tortilla.  (apparently I was supposed to spread this over the whole tortilla, but I didn't.  I write it because I would like to try it next time.)  Roll tortilla up tightly and secure with a toothpick.  Place seam side down on baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes (original recipe said only 14-16, but we ended up doing 20 or 21 and they still weren't super crispy.)  Allow to cool for 5 minutes.  

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Chicken and fruit salad

This recipe comes from the newest taste of home magazine.  I changed it some.  First I didn't want such a mustard flavor so I subbed out 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard for a full Tablespoon of spicy brown.  I also for some reason had no ground ginger.  I didn't realize I was out.  I put a tiny sprinkle (I mean tiny, just the smallest sprinkle) of pumpkin pie spice.  It was ok.  I was definitely glad I didn't add the extra mustard.  I also used my pre-cooked chicken rather than the turkey it originally called for.  The tuna salad from the other day was way better, but I'm not a mustard fan.
I served this with a chicken version of rice pilaf which I wrote about in the comments of this post.  Also only ok.


  • 1/4 cup fat-free plain yogurt (I used greek)
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat mayo
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/8 teaspoon ginger (like I said, didn't have this, but would like to have tried it, so I'm putting it here.)
  • 3 cups precooked chicken
  • 2 ribs celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 large red apple, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (I didn't take time to toast these.
Combine first 6 ingredients in a medium large bowl.  Add remaining ingredients and stir to coat.  Refrigerate until serving.


I made stroganoff this week using my mom's recipe because that is my favorite for stroganoff.  Unfortunately, I forgot that none of the kids like stroganoff.  I also didn't like this recipe as much as I thought.  I think it needed more Worcestershire sauce.  However, I peppered it and it was much better.  I would add more worcestershire sauce next time, and pepper to the sauce.  I only give it 3 stars, but I think with more worcestershire and pepper, it would be 4 star.

  • 1 lb ground beef or steak cut into strips (it is better with steak, but can be made with hamburger for a quick meal.  I used sirloin this week.)
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 Tablespoons ketchup (I never measure this)
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (I actually measured and would put at least 3 next time)
  • I didn't add pepper this time, but I would add at least 1/2 teaspoon next time.
  • 1 package egg noodles (I used 12 oz, but 16 would have been ok.) 
  1. Cook noodles according to package directions.  
  2. While noodles are cooking, spray a frying pan with cooking spray and brown steak (or ground beef) and onions.  Add garlic.  When beef is cooked, drain fat if necessary and add soup, sour cream, ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce.  Simmer while waiting for noodles to finish cooking.
  3. Drain noodles and add to sauce.  Stir to combine.  Serve.


I found this recipe on the sisterscafe, but it is from epicurious.  I had never made middle eastern food before, and had never eaten falafel so it was an adventure.  I also had no food processor, making this quite difficult to make. I used my blender, but it was not good at moving the chickpeas around the blender to sufficiently chop them, so I had to do smaller batches... Not a good experience.  I was also thinking that I just had to chop up the chickpeas right before I made the falafel - - not so.  Start this early so flavors can blend.  I followed the recipe except for the dried red pepper.  I was afraid to make it too spicy.  I did use a little bit of cayenne pepper, but not enough.  It needed more spice.  We just added tabasco.  I did not buy Tahini, I made up my own sauce by watering down some greek yogurt and adding a tiny amount of sesame oil for the sesame flavor  That worked really well.  
DH and I thought these were great, not one of the kids liked them.  Go figure.  DH even rated it a 6.  I give it a 4 because it needed a bit more flavor, but that is entirely my fault for leaving out the red pepper.


  • 1 cup dried chickpeas

  • 1/2 large onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2-1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper (I used a pinch of cayenne)

  • 4 cloves of garlic

  • 1 teaspoon cumin

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 4-6 tablespoons flour

  • Soybean or vegetable oil for frying

  • Chopped tomato for garnish

  • Diced onion for garnish

  • Diced green bell pepper for garnish

  • Tahina sauce (I used my own sauce listed above)

  • Pita bread (I used my pita recipe)

  • Directions

    1. Put the chickpeas in a large bowl and add enough cold water to cover them by at least 2 inches. Let soak overnight, then drain. Or use canned chickpeas, drained.
    2. Place the drained, uncooked chickpeas and the onions in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the parsley, cilantro, salt, hot pepper, garlic, and cumin. Process until blended but not pureed.
    3. Sprinkle in the baking powder and 4 tablespoons of the flour, and pulse. You want to add enough flour so that the dough forms a small ball and no longer sticks to your hands. (mine was super moist.  Not sure if I still had too much water on my chick peas or what, but I used all 6 Tablespoons of flour.  I didn't add more because I could get them to roll into a ball especially if I squeezed a bit of juice out of them, but definitely didn't have a doughy like substance.)  Turn into a bowl and refrigerate, covered, for several hours.
    4. Form the chickpea mixture into balls about the size of walnuts.
    5. Heat 3 inches of oil to 375 degrees in a deep pot or wok and fry 1 ball to test. If it falls apart, add a little flour. Then fry about 6 balls at once for a few minutes on each side,or until golden brown. (I did not flip these, they fried just fine just all the way around just putting them in the oil.)  Drain on paper towels. Stuff half a pita with falafel balls, chopped tomatoes, onion, green pepper, and pickled turnips. Drizzle with tahina thinned with water.

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    Peach black bean soup

    Just made this recipe for lunch.  It is my adaptation of Hungry Girl's Peachy-keen black bean soup.  Hers is completely pureed and I wanted some chunks in mine.  I liked that it was super simple.  It does make a ton though.  If others in the family decide they don't want any for lunch I will try freezing it.  Next time, since I left whole beans, I would probably simmer it for a while rather than letting it sit in the fridge for an hour.  Either that or let it sit in the fridge longer.


    • 3 15 oz. cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
    • 3 cups chicken stock (could use vegetable stock to be vegetarian)
    • 1 16 oz. jar peach salsa
    • 1 teaspoon cumin
    • optional toppings - I used sour cream and lime today, but may try cheddar cheese next time.  I also think it would be good with some green onions on top.
    1. Put 2 cans of black beans, the chicken stock, about 1/3 of the peach salsa and the cumin in a blender and puree.  (I rinsed all of my beans together and added about 2/3 because that looked like about how many I wanted left as chunks - do what looks good to you.  You can blend all of the salsa and all of the beans, but I really wanted the chunks.  There were nice chunks of peaches in my salsa, not to mention I wanted to feel like I ate lunch, not just drank it.)
    2. Pour into a large bowl with a lid, add remaining beans and salsa and stir.  Refrigerate at least 1 hour (more would be better, but like I said, I think I would actually just simmer this if I did it again.)
    3. When ready to eat, remove from fridge, stir to blend, and either heat on the stove or microwave.  Sprinkle with whatever toppings you would like.

    Friday, May 28, 2010

    Lemon Bread sticks

    So, after much debate, I finally got a new bosch mixer. I wanted to try it out making bread, and wanted to do more than a single loaf because after all, if I have a mixer that can actually handle it why not. However, I didn't want 2 loaves of bread really. So, I decided to make bread sticks. The salad and the pasta I made (previous 2 recipes) were both of a lemon theme, so I kept with that on these breadsticks. I doubled my favorite bread recipe, then used 1/2 of the dough to make a loaf of bread. The other half I rolled out to 1/8-1/4 inch thick. It was a decent size rectangle, so I cut it in half, then I cut each half into strips about an inch wide. I made 1/2 savory and the other half just a little bit sweet.
    For the savory 1/2, I juiced a lemon, then brushed each bread stick with lemon juice. Then I sprinkled them with garlic mix. (The one I have now is McCormick perfect pinch, which was good for these, but normally I like Mrs. Dash garlic and herb my grocery store has just been out lately.) Then I twisted them twice and put them on a cookie sheet coated with cooking spray.

    For the a little sweet ones, I used the remaining lemon juice, added a tiny bit of splenda (less than a teaspoon, but I can't remember exactly how much, nor did I measure) I then brushed the remaining bread sticks with that lemon juice mixture and twisted them more than 2 times (they ended up making a tinier longer bread stick-I had wanted the 2 types to look a bit different.)

    Here's the completed meal for this day.
    Bake at 375 for about 18 minutes trading shelves about 1/2 way through cooking. (I did 20 and it was a bit too long. I had meant to check them earlier, but was making way too many things this evening to keep up with it all.)

    Lemon pasta

    I made this lemon pasta to go with the chicken salad we had the other day mostly for the baby who I knew wouldn't even try the salad. Unfortunately, he wouldn't try this either. I found the recipe on the sisterscafe. However, I lightened it up a good deal taking out a Tablespoon of butter and a Tablespoon of oil. I could probably take out another Tablespoon of butter and still be just fine, to me the flavor of this dish is in the lemon, so I used a bit more lemon in the sauce. I should have cut the cooking time back (I think since I had lightened it.) The flavor was great, but I wish it would have been a little more saucy, but that could easily have been remedied by cooking less time. I also added mozzarella on top instead of pure parmesan since my smaller kids are more fond of milder flavors.
    I think this could easily be a main dish if you added chicken, and it would be tasty. Especially with the grilled lemon chicken from the previous salad recipe.)

    • 1 pound Thin Spaghetti
    • 3 Tablespoons Salted Butter
    • 1 Tablespoons Olive Oil
    • 2 cloves Garlic, Minced
    • 2 whole Lemons, Juiced And Zested (about 3 Tablespoons juice and a heaping teaspoon zest)
    • 2 cups Sour Cream (I used fat free - HEB makes a great brand)
    • ½ teaspoons Salt
    • Grated Parmesan Cheese and/or Mozzarella cheese
    • Flat-leaf Parsley, Chopped
    • Extra Lemon Juice
    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook spaghetti until al dente. In a skillet, melt butter with olive oil over LOW HEAT. When butter is melted, add minced garlic. Add the lemon juice and zest, the salt and sour cream and stir until smooth. Pour mixture over drained spaghetti and stir together, then pour spaghetti into an oven safe dish. Bake, covered, for 15 minutes. Then remove foil and bake for an additional 7 to 10 minutes. (I baked only 7 minutes more but I don't think I would do any more, just remove after 15 minutes - I'd have to look at it though.) When you remove it from the oven, squeeze a little more lemon juice over the top. (I didn't do this because I was making way too much dinner this day, but it would be tasty, so I leave it in the instructions.) Top with mozarella and Parmesan cheese (I then covered mine to let the cheese melt) Top with chopped parsley. Add more lemon juice as desired. (wish I would have done this, but the flavor was pretty good with the extra lemon in the sauce.)

    I remade this today with the following ingredients:

    • 12 oz (3 cups) elbow macaroni (I wanted to use bowties, but had open boxes of elbow)
    • 2 Tablespoons  Butter
    • 2 cloves Garlic, Minced
    • 3 whole Lemons, Juiced And Zested (about 3 Tablespoons juice and a heaping teaspoon zest)
    • 1 15 oz. container sour cream (I used fat free - HEB makes a great brand)
    • pinch  Salt
    • Grated  Mozzarella cheese
    I also just put on the cheese and baked it for 15 minutes.  It was much better in the moisture arena but super lemony.  I may cut it back to 2 lemons with the lesser amount of pasta.

    Chicken poppy seed salad

    This recipe is from the sisters cafe. I am rewriting it adding the amounts I used to the side. The dressing is so bad for you. I swapped out some splenda with sugar, but still used all the oil in the recipe. I just used the dressing sparingly. I Put only about 1/3-1/2 cup on the whole salad. I left it on the table for others to add more, but that was plenty for me. I had this on another salad today and watered it down 1/2 and 1/2. The flavor was great, but the poppy seeds didn't stick to the salad as well. I would try making this with 1/2 the oil next time to see how it turns out. I will probably never make this much dressing again though. It makes a ton. I used less than 1/4 of what it made.
    This was either loved or hated at our house. It gets a 5 star from the parents and oldest child, Not as much from the younger ones.

    Salad Ingredients
    • Spinach leaves -I used about 1/2-3/4 of the bag
    • Romaine leaves - I used 1 bag of extra carrots salad mix)
    • Lemon grilled chicken (see recipe below) cut into bite sized pieces
    • Red onion, sliced thinly - I used 1/4 to 1/3 of a good sized onion)
    • Crispy bacon, crumbled (I added a couple Tablespoons real bacon bits because my boys had made all the bacon I bought for this.)
    • Shredded mozzarella cheese (No idea how much I used - 2-3 ounces)
    • Toasted almonds -I used 1/3 cup or so (I toasted them then added the tiniest bit of sugar to them (1/2 teaspoon or less - sprinkled over the toasting almonds)- not completely sugared almonds since the dressing was sweet, but sweeter than regular toasted.)
    • Dressing (recipe below)

    1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.

    Lemon Grilled Chicken Ingredients
    • Juice of one lemon (~3 Tb lemon juice)
    • 3 Tb oil
    • 1 tsp minced garlic (~2 large cloves)
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp pepper
    • 1/2 tsp oregano
    • 1 lb chicken breasts
    1. Marinate the chicken overnight. (I forgot to do this, so I cut my chicken in smaller pieces and marinated all day.) Grill chicken on grill. Chop into small pieces for salad. (You can also dice this to bite sized and marinate that way then just stick it in the skillet, or I really think you could marinate precooked chicken - I think I will try that next time. That worked really well on the Honey lime enchiladas I made the other day.)

    Dressing Ingredients
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1/2 +1/3 cup splenda
    • 2 tsp salt
    • 2 tsp dry mustard
    • 2/3 cup red wine vinegar
    • 3 Tb Maui or Vidalia onion, chopped
    • 2 cups canola oil
    • 3 Tb poppy seeds
    1. Mix the first 5 ingredients in a blender, then slowly add the oil, blending until thick. Stir in poppy seeds.

    beso mi queso

    This recipe is from the Hungry Girl Website. I really wanted to just put a link there, but I actually changed a few things, so I'm writing it out. Aarg. I should stop with the changing things business. Small changes here - omitted some chili powder, changed soymilk to regular milk (wasn't buying soymilk just for this recipe) and she had you add 1/2 teaspoon taco seasoning and 1/4 teaspoon cumin, to the meat then vice versa for the cheese. I thought it was just easier to do 1/2, and 1/2 then 1/4 and 1/4.
    This was ok. I was sadly disappointed by my family not leaving any tortilla chips. Look at the picture to see what they left in the bottom of the bag in the cupboard. I ended up dipping carrots in my cheese, then I dipped a breadstick in them (now that I'm thinking about it I still need to post about that.) It was pretty good with the breadstick. Definitely better that whatever else it was that used soy crumbles.

    1 cup frozen ground-beef-style soy crumbles (like the kind by Boca or Morningstar Farms)
    3/4 tsp. dry taco seasoning mix, divided
    3/4 tsp. ground cumin, divided
    1/3 cup skim milk
    2/3 cup shredded fat-free cheddar cheese
    2 wedges The Laughing Cow Light Original Swiss cheese
    1 1/2 tbsp. fat-free cream cheese, room temperature

    Heat a small frying pan sprayed with nonstick spray on medium-high heat. Add frozen crumbles and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. taco seasoning and 1/2 tsp. cumin. Cook for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thawed and hot. Remove from pan and set aside. Remove pan from heat and let cool slightly.

    Add milk, all three cheeses, remaining 1/4 tsp. taco seasoning, and cumin to the pan. Add 1/4 cup water to the pan and return to medium-low heat. Heat, stirring continuously until cheeses have melted and mixture has a smooth, sauce-like consistency. (It was a bit funny consistency at first, I thought because I used milk instead of soymilk, but as it cooked, it smoothed out pretty well.)

    Add seasoned crumbles to the pot, and continue to cook and stir until hot. Serve with chips (unless your family ate them all. :)

    green beans provencale

    This was my veggie to go with the pork chop and scalloped potatoes the other day - and now you can see how I didn't have time to blog even if I did have internet. I was busy doing all those dishes. What I LOVED about this recipe is that I used a lot of stuff from my very own garden. I have never had a garden look good or really give me much edible foods that I could or did use, but I made this dish using some yellow beans, rosemary, tomato and basil from my garden. I'm so proud! However I didn't have enough beans to make the full recipe, so only DH and I got to enjoy these beans. I'm sure the kids were happier with canned beans anyway. I'm typing up the recipe as it is in the book -Taste of Homes Healthy cooking magazine because I have no idea what I did with proportions. I know I didn't have green onions, I didn't have a shallot, and I more than likely sauteed the veggies in butter rather than olive oil because I love onions sauteed in butter, and I used a regular onion, diced.

    • 1 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces (I had 1/3 of a pound maybe)
    • 4 green onions, sliced, 2 Tbs. minced shallot - I just used 1-2 Tbs minced onion)
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced (I used 1-2 -I just have a jar of minced garlic)
    • 2 tsp minced fresh rosemary or 1/2 tsp. dried crushed rosemary
    • 1 Tablespoon olive oil - I used about 1/2 T butter
    • 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes - I diced about 1/2 a very large tomato from the garden
    • 2 Tablespoons fresh or 2 teaspoon dried basil
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
    1. Steam green beans in a steamer for 4-5 minutes or until crisp-tender.
    2. Meanwhile in a large skillet, saute onions, shallot, garlic, and rosemary (although I added the basil at this time too because I diced my onions, rosemary and basil all together in my blender -need a food processor.) Saute until tender. Add green beans, tomatoes, basil (unless you added it before) salt and pepper. Saute 2-3 minutes longer or until heated through.

    scalloped potatoes

    This is the side I had with the pork chops. I found it on melskitchen too, but she had adapted it from a recipe on serious eats, and I didn't want to use blue cheese, so I used the serious eats recipe. I also wanted to modify these not to use the cream, maybe sub out sour cream or some cream of soup, but I didn't only because I actually had cream in the refrigerator from something else. I also did not have a cast iron skillet, but I do have one that can go in the oven so that is what I used. Other than that, I didn't vary from the recipe at all.  I'd probably give them a 3 - they were ok, but I've liked others better.  Brandon gave them a 4
    • 1 tablespoon butter
    • 1 1/4 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8th inch thick (sliced these in my new bosch slicer, so nice)
    • 1/2 medium onion, minced
    • 1 clove garlic, minced
    • 1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped (I didn't have fresh - the one herb I'm missing in my garden so I used 1/2 teaspoon dried.)
    • 1/2 cup chicken broth
    • 1/2 cup heavy cream
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 2 ounces grated cheddar cheese
    • Salt and pepper
    1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Heat a large iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butter. When melted, add the onion. Cook for 4 minutes, or until soft.
    2. Toss in the garlic and thyme, and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Dump in the potatoes, chicken broth, cream, and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer and then cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook for 10 minutes.

    3. Remove the cover, sprinkle the cheese on top, and place the iron skillet in the oven. Cook for 15 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling and slightly browned. Let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    Tender Grilled pork chops

    I'm so behind in posting this week. My internet was down for 2 days. Of course this was on a week that I had recipes from blogs planned, and 3 dinner no less. It made life interesting. Thank goodness for my iphone. It let me look at my recipes. However, it didn't let me blog. Now I'm so far behind I don't know where to start so of course, I just took a third day off. Good idea huh?
    Anyway, I still have this recipe up on a tab in my computer, so I figure I haven't posted it yet. I found this recipe on mel's kitchen cafe. I followed the recipe mostly except that I used 5 or 6 pork chops not 4 so I could feed everyone and added 1/2 Tablespoon of soy sauce for a tiny bit more marinade. They were really good. (no left overs and there was a whole chop left before seconds.)

    • 5-6 boneless pork loin chops (1 1/2 to 2 lbs)
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 1 teaspoon steak seasoning (such as Montreal Steak Seasoning or check the link above for a recipe to make your own.)
    Mix olive oil, soy sauce and steak seasoning ingredients in a small bowl and pour into a one-gallon resealable plastic bag. Add the pork chops and set the bag in a baking dish in a way that the pork chops get a healthy dose of the marinade ( flip the bag over halfway through the marinating time). Marinate in the refrigerator for 3-8 hours (no more than 8). Heat the grill to medium and grill the chops 6-8 minutes per side (depending on how thick they are) until they are no longer pink in the center. (The recipe on the web site linked above has you tent them after they cook and slice them. I didn't, but you could if you wanted to. I was busy making sides and just didn't bother with it. The chops were juicy and tasty as they were.)

    Wednesday, May 26, 2010

    menu 5/27

    This week's menu is some left over from last week because we ended up going out once, and having dinner at a friend's another night. that is fine with me since I want to finish quickly. Plus my internet has been down the last 2 days and of course all of my recipes were online. Thank goodness for my iphone.

    b-omlet, juice
    l- boca burger
    d-falafel see here for another picture

    l- sauteed peppers and zucchini pita
    d-stroganoff, salad

    b-Overstuffed peanut butter 'n banana french toast (HG p. 288)
    l-peachy-keen black bean soup (HG p. 200)
    d-Grilled pork chops with fabulous green beans (TOH p. 81)
    s-chocolate covered cherries freeze (HG p. 205)

    b-bagels, fruit and milk
    l-exploding chicken taquitos (HG p. 246)
    dessert - cocoa meringues with berries (toh p. 72)

    b-Overnight peach french toast
    l-hawaiian slaw (HG 277)
    d-Marinated veggie beef kabobs (toh p. 82)

    b-pancakes (try mix in bosch book)
    l-turkey chili (frozen)
    d-corn, rice and bean burritos (toh, p.33)

    l-pbj, carrots, fruit
    d-Turkey and fruit salad (with chicken -minus the spicy mustard TOH p 38)

    Well, here are the ones I wanted to try last week but didn't because I'm not ready for that much mexican yet, plus some more I found this week.

    Must try these enchiladas but not this week since I already have some on the menu
    also want to make Turkey tacos (love these and haven't had them in a while BC feb 06 p.45)
    Would love sweet corn potluck pudding on a slow cooker day with a beef or pork dish (pb jan
    Found another something to try edamame guacamole
    Also want to try fiesta bites HG p 252

    Monday, May 24, 2010

    Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas

    I found this recipe at melskitchencafe, but she got it from the Sister's Cafe. I changed it a bit to make it healthier. It called for cream - I used fat free sour cream. I also did my popular sub of 1/2 chili powder, 1/2 cumin to lessen the spice. It was still plenty spicy for us. I made a couple of Enchiladas with just cheese to use up the rest of the tortillas and to use up the cheese, but they weren't nearly as good. The best thing about this was the honey lime chicken. It had a great flavor.
    I also liked how easy this was to make with just the chicken and cheese in the middle -only sauce on the top.

    • 6 Tablespoons honey
    • 5 Tablespoons lime juice (1 large lime) - their limes must be on steroids. It took me 4 Limes to get this much
    • 1/2 Tablespoons chili powder
    • 1/2 Tablespoon cumin
    • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 pound chicken, cooked and shredded (I just used my pre-cooked)
    • 10-12 flour tortillas
    • 1 pound monterey jack cheese, shredded (I had a package of moneterey jack and 1 of cheddar jack)
    • 1 15 ounces can green enchilada sauce
    • 1 cup fat free sour cream
    Mix the first four ingredients and toss with shredded chicken. Let it marinate for at least 1/2 hour. Pour about 1/2 cup enchilada sauce on the bottom of a 9X13 baking pan. Fill flour tortillas with chicken and shredded cheese, saving about 1 cup of cheese to sprinkle on top of enchiladas. (I think I made 8 -9 using 1 package of cheese and then 2 cheese only with the rest of the cheese on top. Mix the remaining enchilada sauce with the cream and leftover marinade (I didn't have much marinade left.) Pour sauce on top of the enchiladas (I actually separated my enchiladas with my finger to make sure the sauce got in between each enchilada.) Sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until brown and crispy on top. (You may want to cook them a bit longer although I would suggest covering them first if you do that. My cheese wasn't melted inside, but they were just right on top.)

    I made some corn and black beans as a side by first mixing the juice of 1 lime and adding a sprinkle of splenda (would have used honey to make a honey lime sauce, but then the baby couldn't eat it - not that he did anyway.) Added some garlic mix and a bit of salt. Then I added a can of corn and a can of black beans (both rinsed and drained.) and tossed.

    Sunday, May 23, 2010

    Tropical teriyaki burger

    This is my version of Hungry girl's island insanity burger.  I just made it easier - and I didn't have any lettuce.


    • 1 pineapple ring (from a can packed in juice._
    • 1 boca burger
    • 1 tablespoon teriyaki sauce (didn't measure at all, but that was pretty close.   I used sparingly.
    • 1 slice Monterey Jack cheese 
    • 1 hamburger bun or orowheat sammy
    • 1 slice tomato
    • 1 leaf lettuce (I actually used spinach but only because I was out of lettuce.  Still tasty)
    • 1 teaspoon mayonnaise (didn't measure this, but that is probably about right.)
    Spread teriyaki sauce all over burger and microwave for 1 minute.  Add cheese and microwave for another 30 seconds.  Meanwhile cook the pineapple in a skillet until darkened.  (Not sure this part was worth the time)  I put a bit of mayo mixed with a bit of teriyaki sauce on both sides of my bun.  I put the burger, pineapple, spinach then tomato.  

    Pizza rolls

    In the process of making the pizza rolls from the sisters cafe.  They are looking pretty good.  I'm adding more directions because they didn't say how thin to roll the dough or how large to make the squares.  I also added a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and made different flavors.  I was going to do supreme but ended up using all of my green pepper on another recipe, and I know DH loves the pepperoni rolls at Double Dave's so I just stuck with pepperoni.  We made the pizza sauce we usually make for pizza, and we used the dough from sister's cafe.

    After eating these, there are quite a few things I would change.  They were too much dough, not enough filling.  I would use a thinner pizza dough recipe - probably our neo-nepolitana crust.  I think I would also try rolling them like Double Daves (like a croissant -roll out a circle, cut into triangles, fill and roll up.)  I would also use a thicker sauce for dipping.   Our pizza sauce was too thin.  Even with all the changes I would make for next time, they are still getting a 4 star because our 4 year old said that I could make them everyday.  I would probably only rate them a 3.  They were way prettier to look at than they tasted.


    • Pizza Dough  (see below)
    • shredded mozarella cheese (we used about 8 oz for a double batch of dough)
    • fillings - we used pepperoni which we cut in 1/4 in some and diced ham with pineapple tidbits in the other.  
    • garlic salt
    • Italian seasonings
    • Parmesan Cheese
    Roll out dough to about 1/4 inch thick.  Cut into 4" squares.  Place toppings in the center of the squares (a couple of Tablespoons worth.)  Wrap dough around filling and seal (I folded in opposite corners and sealed the seams.)  Place in a greased 10X13 pan (for a double batch)  Spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with garlic salt, Italian seasonings, and Parmesan Cheese. Bake at 400 for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve with Marinara sauce for dipping.

    Ingredients  (We doubled this for our family)
    • 1 c warm water
    • 1 tsp sugar
    • 1 Tb (1/4 oz package) active dry yeast
    • 3 Tbsp olive oil
    • 2 ½ c flour
    • 1 tsp salt
    Put warm water in bowl. Stir in sugar and yeast and let proof for 1o minutes. Stir in rest of ingredients. Mix until a ball, knead 10 minutes by hand or 5 minutes in mixer. Let rise for 1.5 hours.  Roll out and arrange pizza toppings on top. Bake in 400 degree oven (on preheated pizza stone for best results).

    Saturday, May 22, 2010

    Red Berry Risotto Oatmeal

    I found this recipe a new wonderful blog that I found last week called  The recipe intrigued me for multiple reasons.  First of all it was was rice pudding and I love rice pudding.  This looked different because it incorporated some oatmeal as well.  I was also interested to try this because it was made in a rice cooker.  Sadly it just wasn't my day for cooking.  First of all I had no steel cut oats.  I did not buy them on purpose because I have oat groats and a marga grain press which I regularly use to roll oats.  It also can crunch them to make steel cut oats, but of course this morning it would only roll them no matter what setting I put it on.  I ended up trying to chop the groats in my blender - no luck, then with my stick blender - sent oats flying even with a paper plate on top.

    Of course my food processor is dead so that was no option.  They ended up some powdery, some steel cut size, and even some whole groats.  All cooked well, so technically I could have just saved the time and used the groats I guess.  I finally got them in the rice cooker and turned it on.  I was thinking it was a ton of water for the rice cooker, but left it because after all I was following a recipe right?  Well, I headed to take a shower because I had just run 10 miles in the hot, humid, Houston May weather.  I thought this would be a perfect meal. Throw all ingredients in the rice cooker, cooks while I get ready, perfect right?  No.  Took forever to get the ingredients together and  this is the mess I returned to.   What a mess.

    I didn't buy a vanilla bean but I had a very old one.  I threw it in while the rice was cooking and scraped the seeds at the end since it needed to re-hydrate again.  I will probably just use vanilla extract in the future because vanilla beans are too expensive for me to want to buy regularly.
    The rice was tasty and well cooked even with all of the liquid that ended up on my counter.  I will probably try this next time in a pan - or do it in the rice cooker but use about 1/2 of the water to start and monitor it more closely so it doesn't make such a mess.  I like a rice pudding a little sweeter than this, but resisted the urge to add more sweetener because truly it was quite tasty as it was.  I'm just used to a sweeter rice pudding.

    Here are the directions.


    • 1/2 cup steel-ground oatmeal 
    • 1 cup Arborio rice
    • 1/2 cup heavy cream
    • 6 cups water
    • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
    • 1/2 cup sugar  (I used 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup splenda)
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt

    1 bag frozen raspberries, thawed  (I used 2 cups frozen and did not thaw them  I like this because you add them at the end, it cools the rice and thaws the berries all at 1 time.)
    1 cup ripe raspberries
    1 cup ripe strawberries, quartered
    In a rice cooker add all the ingredients, except the fruit. Cook until done. (Alternately, you can cook the mixture in a large pot. Bring to a quick boil and then lower to a simmer and cook, covered, for about 25-30 minutes. I will try this next time.)
    Remove rice and oatmeal from the rice cooker. Add raspberries and stir to combine. Stir in strawberries and continue to stir until the berries have turned the risotto slightly pink, 1-2 minutes. Serve immediately. If you are planning on saving leftovers and heating up in the morning, only add berries to each individual serving the morning of and not to the whole batch.

    **Making this again only in a pan.  Changed ingredients to be all splenda and 1 teaspoon of vanilla, 1/4 teaspoon almond extract, and a tiny dash of cinnamon.  I did end up sprinkling more splenda on top this time. I'd definitely add more next time.  I just like my rice pudding sweeter.

    Thursday, May 20, 2010

    Root Beer Barbecued Beef Sandwiches

    I wanted a slow cooker recipe for today and this is what looked good.  It is from an old Pillsbury magazine from Jan '04.  Pretty simple.  I didn't use quite as much oil as the original recipe, and I didn't scrape the bits of stuff off of my pan after searing the roast and add it to the pan.  I actually got busy and cooked the sauce for too long.  I would not recommend that.  Mine could have used more sauce.  It was easily remedied by more barbecue sauce.  


    • 1 Tablespoon oil
    • 1 boneless beef rump roast, (4 lb) trimmed of fat (I used a top round london broil - 4.5 lbs)
    • 1 1/4 cups root beer
    • 2 cups barbecue sauce
    • 16 sandwich buns, split
    1. Heat oil in skillet.  Add beef and sear on all sides.  
    2. While the meat is cooking put rood beer and 1 1/2 cup barbecue sauce in a bowl (or 4 cup measuring cup) Mix well.
    3. Put beef in slow cooker.  Pour barbecue sauce over beef.  Cover and cook on low for 10-12 hours (I did 4-5 on high and 2 on low.)
    4. About 20 minutes before serving, remove beef ffrom slow cooker; place on large plate.  Pour juices from slow cooker into a skillet.  Cook over medium-high heat for about 15 minutes or until juices are reduced to about 3 cups, stirring occasionally.  (Don't overdo this, I did and my meat needed more sauce.)  Meanwhile, shred beef with 2 forks; return to slow cooker.
    5. Stir remaining 1/2 cup barbecue sauce into reduced juices in skillet.  Pour sauce over beef in slow cooker. Ass salt and pepper to taste; mix well (I didn't add any.)  Serve on buns.


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