Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The best peach jam

OK, I said yesterday that I wasn't posting anything about jam making because I just follow the directions on the box, but I have to say that I LOVE our peach jam because one day DH threw a dash of cinnamon in it.  It is so good.  It reminds me of peach cobbler with the cinnamon.  Soo good.

Here is how to make it.


  • 4 cups diced/smashed peaches (you want a few chunks.  I just smashed mine with my hands today.  That way I was really in control of the amount of mash and the amount of chunks. I think this was 10 medium to large peaches for me today.)  
  • 5 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon butter
  • Dash cinnamon - 1/8-1/4 teaspoon - maybe up to 1/2 depending on how subtle you want the flavor and what type of cinnamon you are using. (I used saigon cinnamon and only used 1/8-1/4 teaspoon yesterday and it was plenty)
  • 1 package pectin
  • Enough jars, rings and lids for about 7 cups of jam.
  1. Wash glass jars and rings.   Place lids in a  bowl and cover with boiling water.  Leave in the water until ready to use.
  2. Smash/dice the peaches to your liking.  (see note above)  Place in a large pot.  Place sugar in a large bowl and set aside to have it ready.  
  3. Add 1/2 teaspoon butter and the package of pectin to the pot of peaches.  Stir. Bring  to a boil over medium-high heat.  Quickly stir in sugar.  Return mix to a boil.  Boil for 1 minute.  Remove from heat.  Add cinnamon and stir in.   Ladle into glass jars to within 1/8 inch of the top.  Wipe the rim of the glass if any jam got on it.  Place the lid on the top.  Screw the ring onto the lid and flip the jar over.   Continue until you are out of jam.  Let jam sit for 30 min or so and check to make sure they have sealed.  If not, you have to do a hot water bath. (directions are in the package - basically place in a pot of boiling water that covers the jar and boil. (I don't remember how long because all of mine sealed.)  If that does not resolve the problem, you have to store that jar in the fridge.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Turkey Tacos

We actually have had this one before and I know we like it.  I actually did not put the meal in the crock pot today because we left so early for berry picking.  Brandon did that for me.  I did finish it up though.  It cooked pretty fast, but luckily I checked on it early and turned the crock pot down to warm so it didn't overcook.  For some reason they seemed salty to me today.  I'm going to think it was the seasoning packet I used or something.  We've had these before and they were perfect.  They were still delicious, just a tiny bit on the salty side.
Like I said in my previous post, it was a very busy day, and much of it was cooking - after my morning run, I made the breakfast cookies, then we went and picked berries and peaches.  Being that I have 4 boys many of the peaches ended up mush by the time we got home from being pummeled or thrown, dropped, etc.  So, I really needed to take care of them today.  I got home and peeled the worst of them and put them in a container, but then taught a piano lesson.  I also had no bread and bananas that needed to make some banana bread on my counter, so after making lunch for everyone,  I spent the afternoon making banana bread, 2 loaves of bread and peach jam.  Then I taught 3 more piano lessons, shredded the meat and decided to make some baked plantains as a side for dinner.  Luckily, I made my regular wheat bread, have never posted a jam recipe because I just follow the recipe on the package of pectin, and I made the hungry girl banana bread that I made a couple of weeks ago so I only have 2 things to blog.  Whew!


  • 1 can (15 oz.) spicy chili beans in sauce, undrained (we use mild chili beans in sauce)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 1 1/2 lb turkey thighs, skin removed (we actually used boneless skinless chicken thighs, and used 1 3/4 lbs today)
  • 1 package taco seasoning mix
  • 1/2 cup thick and chunky salsa (picante works fine)
  • 1 package taco shells
  • 1 cup shredded lettuce
  • 1 large tomato, chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  1. Mix chili beans and onion in a slow cooker.  Top with turkey.  Sprinkle taco seasoning over turkey; spoon salsa over top.
  2. cover and cook on low for 7 to 9 hours.  
  3. Remove turkey and shred.  Replace turkey and stir   (I actually removed about 1/2 cup of the liquid today because it had a ton.  I don't remember this being the case before.)
  4. Heat taco shells as directed on package (we didn't do this today, but have in the past and it is yummy.) Fill shells with meat mix, cheese lettuce and tomatoes.

breakfast cookies

Today has been a crazy cooking day.  I didn't want to cook as much as I did, and I didn't plan on cooking all day when I got up this morning, but one thing led to another, and I ended up cooking a lot.  It started with these breakfast cookies.  We were going to go pick peaches and blackberries so we were headed out early.  I decided it would be easier to make a portable breakfast and let the boys sleep a little longer, so I finally tried this hungry girl recipe.  It was OK.  Although I was told they weren't any good, both of the big boys ate 2.  They were fine.  Nothing spectacular, but not bad or anything.  I think they were great for a breakfast, but if you are really thinking cookie, then they would be disappointing.  They are the first breakfast "cookie" that I have made that was truly healthy.


  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup fiber one bran cereal
  • 1/2 cup Splenda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 4 teaspoons Coffee-mate Sugar Free French Vanilla powdered creamer
  • 2/3 cup peaches baby food (Like Gerber or Beechnut- it is almost 2 full jars)
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup fat free egg substitute
  • 2 Tablespoons raisins
  • 2 Tablespoons craisins
  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. In food processor or blender, grind fiber one to breadcrumb consistency.
  3. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients (oats, flour, fiber one, splenda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.)  
  4. In another bowl, dissolve the powdered creamer in the hot water.  Add other wet ingredients (peaches, pumpkin, and egg substitute) and stir until mixed well.
  5. Add liquid mixture to dry ingredient sand stir until completely blended.  Stir in raisins and craisins. 
  6. Spray a large baking sheet with non-stick spray.  Spoon batter into 8 evenly spaced cookies.  Spread out a bit with rubber spatula.  
  7. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until tops are slightly crispy.  Allow to cool slightly on the sheet.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Blueberry muffins

I made some hungry girl blueberry muffins this morning for breakfast.  DH had brought home glazed donuts and I actually behaved myself and made something healthy.  (Wish I could say the same about the pineapple upside down cake DH made this evening.  Good thing I'm running in the morning.)  I thought the muffins had quite the interesting list of ingredients.  I really liked that I could have 2 and they were only 274 calories for both.  That and 1/2 a glass of milk made a great breakfast.  I used my flower pot muffin pans, thinking these muffins would be bigger than they were.  I usually have no trouble with food sticking in those, but these stuck.  However, it wasn't as bad for the ones that cooled longer in the pot, and those that had less blueberries.

Heres the super short version of the recipe


  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup splenda
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (I just added a dash)
  • 1/2 cup light vanilla soymilk
  • 1/4 cups sugar-free pancake syrup
  • 1/4 cup fat-free egg substitute
  • 2 Tablespoons light buttery spread
  • 2 Tablespoons no-sugar added applesauce (I used blueberry applesauce)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (I may have forgotten this.  It doesn't seem familiar-the recipe has the ingredients all mixed up in order.  I listed them how you add them.)
  • 1 cup blueberries
Mix the dry ingredients (1st 5 ingredients) in a bowl.  
Mix the wet ingredients (The next 6 ingredients - or the rest except blueberries)  in another bowl.
Combine the dry and wet and mix until completely blended.  Fold in blueberries.  
Line 6 muffin cups with baking liners and/or spray with non-stick spray.  Pour batter in the 6 cups.  Bake for 22 minutes (Mine took 24-25) or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Beef Fajita stir fry on pasta

Still on my week of Sandi Richards.  Not too many changes to this recipe.  Lowered the spice by lowering chili powder and upping cumin.   I also traded out another sweet pepper for the 1/2 green pepper the recipe called for.  It was super tasty.  Even anti-pepper child rated it 7/10 and had seconds.  DH only gave it 3/5 though.  go figure.  I really liked it.  This is how I made it.


  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 onion
  • 1 1/2 lbs flank steak (I had somewhere between 1 1/2 and 2 lbs of sirloin steak.)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • 1/3 yellow bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chunky salsa
  • 1 14 oz can Italian diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 Tablespoons ketchup
  • 4 cups penne pasta
  • 4 cheese mexican blend - we probably used 1.5 cups of it  original recipe said only 1/4 cup
  1. Put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta - cook according to package directions when it is ready.
  2. Meanwhile, Slice peppers.  Heat butter in a large nonstick frying pan.  Slice onion (I sliced mine into rings then into about 1/8ths or so.)  Saute in butter until translucent.  Slice steak across the grain adding to pan as you cut.  Add the garlic. Stir.   Add the peppers and stir.
  3. Add salsa, tomatoes, spices and ketchup to the pan and mix.  When the sauce begins to boil, reduce heat to simmer.
  4. Meanwhile, the noodles should be about ready - rinse in a colander under hot water.  Return to pasta pot and toss with s little olive oil and basil.  
  5. To serve, place noodles on plate, cover with meat/pepper mixture and top with cheese.  Just thinking about it right now, sour cream would have been really good on these too.


Ok, I think this will actually catch me up for the last couple of weeks.  This recipe is also from my sister Karley.  I really liked the insides of this manicotti because it used cottage cheese rather than ricotta, and I'm not the hugest fan of ricotta  (I'll eat it and it can be good - check out canolli cones - but I prefer cottage cheese because I find ricotta to be a bit gritty and I'm a texture person.)  So, I really liked the middle of these manicotti.  However, I wasn't a huge fan of the outside.  I thought it was a bit salty.  Each of the big boys had 3 though, so it gets a 4 star.   I figure my dislike was just the mix used in the sauce.  I'd like to try these with a different sauce on top and bottom - maybe some spaghetti sauce or something.  Then they would be excellent.


  • 1 small tub cottage cheese 
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup parsley (I used fresh, mixed with a bit of fresh basil)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 package manicotti  noodles (I didn't use 4)
  • 1/2 pound hamburger
  • 1/2 pound sausage (I used 1/2 a package of light sausage - 6 oz.)
  • 1 packet thick and zesty spaghetti sauce mix
  • 1 Tablespoon butter (I may have left this out because the sauce packet said it was optional
  • 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 cup mozzarella
  1. Make manicotti noodles according to package directions.  Preheat oven to 375 
  2. Mix first 5 ingredients together in a bowl to fill manicotti.
  3. Cook hamburger and sausage.  Add onion and garlic as meat cooks if desired (I used my precooked hamburger which I make with dried onions.  I also threw in some garlic.)  Add tomato paste, packet, water and butter if using.  Make according to packet directions.  Fill shells with cottage cheese mixture.  Put a little meat sauc in the bottom of a 9 X 13 pan.  Place stuffed manicotti on top of sauce.  Cover with remaining sauce.  Top with cheese.  Bake for 45 minutes.

Mediterranean Chicken Wraps

This is a recipe from my sister Karley.  I totally forgot to blog this when I made it.  I was looking through my pictures and there it was with no post.  Oops.  I have 1 more or hers I made that I still need to blog.  I knew I was behind, but I didn't realize how far behind I was.  Aargh.  I know I made some homemade tortillas with this too, but I don't remember what recipe I used anymore.  Oops.
Here is this recipe.  I only remember that it was a bit dry - flavor was good, but it could have cooked less time.   Grant it, I did cut the oil down from 1/2 cup to 1-2 Tablespoons, but it should not have made the meat so dry.  I'm pretty sure that was just from cooking too long.  Something else went wrong with this meal - oh yea, I had no dill for the Tzatziki sauce.  I found a little bit in my garden, but not nearly enough.  That was no good.  It was still an ok meal.  The chicken did have a great flavor, I just wish I would have used chicken thighs or cooked the breasts less time.


  • 2-4 chicken breasts (I think I used 3 pretty large ones)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil  (I only used 1-2 Tablespoon)
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1 Tablespoon chicken base or bouillon
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
Cook for 6 hours until done, shred and place back in juices.  (I made it in the crock pot.  Can't remember if I used high or low - probably high for only 5 hours knowing me, but I would definitely watch it closer next time, but I would probably also just use chicken thighs next time.  

Tzatziki sauce Ingredients
  • 1/2 cucumber, seeded and diced
  • 1 small plain yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Serve wrapped in tortillas with lettuce, chopped tomato, feta cheese, etc.  (we didn't have feta.  That would have been good.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Maple Baked Beans with Multigrain Bread and mixed salad greens

This recipe is from the Sandi Richards book I have checked out from the library.  I changed a few things.  I think I would change a few more thing next time - maybe leave out the mustard, or add powdered rather than dijon.  I also forgot to soak my beans overnight, so I did them from this morning.  The original recipe was made in the oven, and I made mine in the crock pot.  I also changed up the salad a little and made up a quick salad dressing for it that turned out really yummy.


  • 1 1/4 cups dry white navy beans
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup (I have a butter light so I also added 1/4 - 1/2 tsp maple flavoring)
  • 1/2 teaspoons pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (recipe called for 1/2 tsp. crushed chili paste, but I didn't have that.)
  • 2 teaspoons vinegar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 bacon slices
  1. Rinse beans in a colander discarding any that are bad.  Place beans, onion and  5 cups water in a large pot. Bring to a boil and boil for 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile combine brown sugar, maple syrup and flavoring, pepper, mustard, red pepper sauce, vinegar, molasses, ketchup and water in a crock pot.  Trim and discard most of the fat from the bacon.  
  3. Transfer beans and water to the crock pot and stir to combine.  Lay bacon on top.  Cook on high for 6 hours (I actually cooked this on low while we were at church (4 hours) then came home and turned it to high until dinner (4 more hours.)
  4. About 30 minutes before serving, remove 1 cup of the beans with sauce into a bowl.  Mash with a fork.  Redurn to the crock pot and stir.  Place beans in the oven uncovered for 20 minutes (at 350 - I went ahead an moved this because I already had the oven pre-heated for the bread, and it needed a little more rise time.) 
Here is the salad I made with this

  • 1 bag mixed greens
  • 5 strawberries
  • 12 raspberries
  • roasted pine nuts (had some left over from the other day.)
  • 1 1/2 - 2 teaspoons strawberry jam (didn't measure, just scooped out a spoonfull
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 3 teaspoons water
  • poppy seeds
Mix jam, vinegar and water with a whisk in a small bowl (I actually mixed mine in a gravy boat to make it easy to pour.)  Sprinkle with poppy seeds and stir.  
Rinse berries.  Slice strawberries.  Place greens on individual plates.  Add 2 raspberries to each plate and some sliced strawberries.  Sprinkle with pine nuts.  Drizzle dressing on top.  

Irish Porridge Bread

This is a recipe from my King Arthur cookbook.  It calls for you to use steel cut oats, and let them soak overnight in the water, then cook them on the stovetop for 15-20 minutes.  Well, I never plan that far in advance.  I wanted multigrain bread, DH picked this recipe out in the morning before church, I cooked it in the afternoon after church. No waiting time, so I measured out the weight of the Irish oats in rolled oats.  I roll my own oats from oat groats, so I don't figure it can be all that different.  Then I just microwaved the oats.  No soaking, and only 4 minutes in the microwave.  Still had to cool a bit, but I stirred in the butter, then the sugar, then I moved it to the mixer bowl, got out my ingredients and added the wheat germ and vital wheat gluten which I keep in the fridge or freezer.  That got it to cool enough pretty quickly so I could add the yeast without killing it.  That made this recipe take not much longer than any other bread recipe.  A lot more doable for me.


  • 1 3/4 cup water
  • 3.75 ounces fresh rolled oats (about 1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 2 Tablespoons vital wheat gluten
  • 2 cups unbleached bread flour
  • 1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  1. Combine water and oats (3.75 oz. oats) in a medium microwave safe bowl.  Microwave 4 minutes or until done.  Remove from microwave.  Stir in butter, brown sugar, and salt until melted.  Move to mixing bowl to cool.  
  2. Meanwhile, take out remaining ingredients.  Either wait until oatmeal is only warm, or if impatient like me, add cooler ingredients first and add the yeast at the very end once the mix is cool enough not to kill the yeast.  (I actually did add an extra Tablespoon or 2 of flour this time.  I had a note that it was sticky written in my book.)  Mix ingredients until well combined - I let my mixer knead it a few minutes.  Cover and let rise until nearly double in bulk (1-2 hours)
  3. Grease a bread pan with cooking spray.  Deflate dough and shape it into a log.  Allow to rise until is is 1 1/2 inches over the rim of the pan.  (45 min-1 hour)  Near end of the bread's rise, preheat the oven to 350.
  4. Bake for 35-40 minutes tenting with foil after 15 minutes (I forgot to tent mine, and only cooked it 30 minutes.  It could have used the extra 5-10 minutes, but I was afraid to keep it in any longer since I had forgotten to tent it.  It was fine, just a bit soft in the middle, but I also cut it when it was still very warm.)

coconut tres leches cake

I made this cake for Duncan's birthday last week, but never got it posted.  I found it at Mel's Kitchen Cafe It was OK.(I'd probably say 3 star, just not as good as I expected.  Brandon says 4, so that is what it gets, but just because I kept eating it, so it must have been somewhat good.)  I would do things different if making it again.  It was made with a yellow cake mix, but there was a recipe for a make at home cake mix at Mel's Kitchen Cafe.  I decided I wanted to use that not wanting my results to be any different than hers.  Plus, knowing how much tres leches has to absorb, I thought a regular yellow cake mix was too light.  Anyway, that ended up being closer to a pound cake than a regular box yellow cake.  Good for absorbing the liquid of the tres leches, but I think it could have used a bit more liquid, and I definitely should have stabbed it with the fork twice as many times.  (And I did it a lot.)  Even with all that being said, for some reason I kept eating this silly cake.  The pieces that were more moist were very good.  It also makes me want to go and try my low fat tres leches cake recipe again.  I tried that years ago and it didn't turn out, but now that I have made this one, I know more what I'm looking for in terms of cake texture and liquid absorption.  OK, enough explaining.  Here are the recipes.

Here is the recipe from Mel's kitchen cafe.  I just copied it.  I had difficulty with this because my food processor is not large enough to hold all of the ingredients.  If making this again, I'd just use the ingredients and make it like a regular cake - cream butter and sugar, add eggs and vanilla, stir in flour...  because I wasn't making this ahead to freeze.   However, if I make this recipe of tres leches again, I will try a box yellow cake.  While Mel liked it because it wasn't processed, I'm not too keen on the fact that it had 2 sticks of butter and 2 full cups of sugar.    Oh yea, it's been a week so I almost forgot that this took forever to cook.  at least 15 minutes longer than the recipe said it would, but I think it was more like 20-30 minutes more.  Again, having been a week, I can't remember, but I know I put it in for another 5 minutes a few times.

*Makes enough for two 9-inch layer cakes (bake according to recipe), or one 9X13-inch cake (bake for 30 to 35 minutes), or one 12-cup bundt pan (bake for 40 to 45 minutes), or 24 cupcakes (bake for 18 to 20 minutes)
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons butter (2 sticks), cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Process sugar, flours (or flour and cornstarch if making the substitution for the cake flour), milk powder, baking powder, and salt in a food processor for 15 seconds to combine. Add butter and vanilla and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal (you want this much finer than, say, a pie crust). Freeze the dry mixture in a zipper-lock bag for up to 2 months or use immediately.
To make the cake, adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour your pan of choice (see the note above the recipe).
With an electric mixer, beat the prepared cake mix, 1 1/4 cups warm water and 2 large room-temperature eggs until the mixture is smooth, about 2 minutes. Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan(s) and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25-27 minutes for two 9-inch layer cakes. See the note above the recipe for alternate cooking times with other baking pans. Cool the cake(s) in pan(s) for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack. Cool completely.

Here is the tres leches recipe again copied from Mel's kitchen cafe.  She said to look for cream of coconut in the asian food aisle, but I didn't find it there in 2 stores.  I finally asked someone, and they suggested the  looking with the alcohol as it is used to make pina coladas, and that is where I found it easily.  I did not use the bananas, and I frosted the whole cake with the sweet cream because I was making it as a birthday cake, so we stuck candles in it and sang happy birthday.

*Serves 12-16
Make-ahead Yellow Cake Mix or other preferred cake mix or homemade yellow cake recipe
Milk Syrup:
1 can (15 ounces) cream of coconut
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 medium-size ripe bananas
Sweetened cream (see instructions below)
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut, toasted (spread on a rimmed baking sheet and bake it at 350 degrees until golden brown, 7 minutes, or toast it in a skillet over medium-low heat on the stovetop)
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly spray a 9X13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Set the baking dish aside. Place the make-ahead cake mix, 1 1/4 cups warm water and 2 large room-temperature eggs in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until the mixture is smooth, about 2 minutes (if using another cake mix or recipe, bake according to box or recipe instructions). Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake the cake until it is lightly golden and is slightly pulling away from the edges, 30-34 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool completely, 1 hour.
Meanwhile, make the milk syrup: in a blender, combine the cream of coconut, evaporated milk, cream, and vanilla and process until smooth.
Pierce the cooled cake all over the top with the tines of a fork or a thin wooden skewer. We are talking all over! The more pokes, the more the syrup will soak into the cake. Using a large spoon or ladle, spoon some of the milk syrup over the cake. Let the syrup soak into the cake, then continue spooning the syrup on top until all of it has been used up. When you have finished, not all of the syrup will be completely absorbed and might be pooling on the top but that’s ok because it will absorb as it refrigerates. Cover the cake loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until all of the syrup is absorbed, 2 hours. Cut the bananas, if using crosswise into ¼-inch slices. Slice the cake and serve it with sliced bananas, sweetened cream and toasted coconut, if desired.
Sweetened Cream:
Pour 1 cup heavy whipping cream into a large (preferably chilled) glass bowl and beat it on high speed until thickened 1 ½ minutes. Stop the machine and add ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar and ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract. Beat on high speed until stiff peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Makes 2 cups.
Recipe Source: adapted from The Dinner Doctor

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Apple Cinnamon Pork Chop with cranberry-rice stuffing and carrots

I wasn't going to post today's recipe because I actually followed it by the book except for the 5 mushrooms I left out of the stuffing.  However, after eating it, I am posting the alterations I would make if eating it again.  It was OK, but the pork was dry (overcooked) and the carrots were a little dry (a lid should solve that problem.) and the stuffing was too moist.  I also thought it had too strong of a pepper flavor to go with the cinnamon apples and the cranberries in the stuffing.  All that being said, it still has great potential for me as a meal.


  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder  (or omit pepper all together and go with garlic blend.  I actually debated this today.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper (this is cut in half from original)
  • dash salt
  • 6 thick pork loin chops trimmed of fat (mine were 2 lbs 10 oz)
  • 1/2 teaspoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 rib celery, chopped fine
  • 1 cup brown and wild rice mix (mine is a quick cook one - recipe called for white and wild rice not sure if this made it more runny -the quick cook part- or what)
  • 2 cups chicken broth (I may use water next time depending on the packaged stuffing mix and possibly a bit more)
  • 1 package stove top (or other stuffing mix) (I may also just use 2 cups.  I think I stir it first and see, or see how much of the package was left - original recipe had 2 cups of large bread crumbs.  I used 4 slices of toasted bread crumbed in the food processor.  Original recipe also had some poultry seasoning and oregano but it wouldn't be necessary with stove top.  Also, if short on prep time, you could leave out the onions and celery altogether and just add the rice and craisins.  I'm always one for adding veggies, but it would save time not to have them there.)
  • 1/2 cup craisins
  • 2-3 large MacIntosh apples (I got 3, but 2 was plenty.)
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  •  1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 cups baby carrots
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon marjoram

  1. Mix garlic powder, pepper and salt in a small bowl.  (Ignore if using garlic herb blend) Spray a large frying pan with cooking spray and Heat over medium high heat. Sprinkle 1/2 of garlic blend over one side of  each chop and place it spice side down in the frying pan.  Cook until browned (a couple of minutes)  Sprinkle other side with remaining garlic blend.  Flip and brown the other side of the chops.  Take out of the pan and set aside.  
  2. Add oil and butter to the same pan but reduce heat to medium low.  Saute onion and garlic in the oil until tender.  Add the broth and rice and seasoning (if stuffing comes with a seasoning packet.  If mixed, don't worry about it.  Bring to a boil.  Remove from the heat and add the bread part of the stuffing. ( I'd start with 2 cups of stuffing first and add more as needed.  The rice still needs to absorb some liquid, so you don't want it to be totally dry, but ours was definitely too moist.  I think the harder breadcrumbs of stuffing mix would help that though.)
  3. Spray a 9X13 pan with cooking spray and place stuffing/rice mixture on the bottom of the pan.  Place pork chops on top of that.  Slice the apples into thin slices and place on top of the pork.  Mix the cinnamon and brown sugar in a small bowl and sprinkle on top of the apples.  Bake for 30-40 minutes or until thermometer reads 165.  (original recipe said 40 but they were definitely overdone, ruining the meal.)
  4. Place the baby carrots in a oven safe casserole dish with a lid.  Drizzle with olive oil and marjoram.  Toss to coat.  Cover and place in oven to cook alongside the chops.  (If you want them very soft, you may want to start them before the chops.  Mine were still a bit hard, but fine, but they were in the oven the with the longer time for the chops.  They were a bit dry on the outside.  However I didn't cook them with a lid.  I'm thinking the lid would help the cook faster and not get dry.  The flavor was good.) 

cobbler oatmeal

The idea for this recipe comes form Hungry Girl again.  It is based on her "fro-yo'ed up oatmeal sundae."  It is from her 200 under 200 calories book, and it came in at 198.  I didn't have to worry about being under 200 calories, and actually like to eat more than that in my breakfast, so I edited it.  I also forgot to pick up frozen yogurt so I used my light ice cream.  I don't think it changed the nutritional value much.  It was still a light ice cream, and I love the flavor of our vanilla.  But not using frozen yogurt, I can't very well call it fro-yo'ed anything.  I thought it tasted like a cobbler, so that is what I called it.    I also used more oatmeal, and a different mix of berries.  Soo yummy.  I made it for the boys, and DS1 and DS2 had seconds.  This could be made with any fruit.  I think it would be super tasty with peaches since it reminded me of a cobbler.  Cherries would also be good.  Here is how I made it the other day.


  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 Tablespoon jam - I used home made strawberry, but could switch out for peach if making peach flavor.)
  • 1 teaspoon splenda (this was a little sweet for me, but it was so tasty.  You may want to use less if you don't like it too sweet.
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon (I used our Saigon cinnamon, yum)
  • dash salt
  • 1/4 cup light vanilla ice cream (we like homemade vanilla flavor by bluebell or HEB)
  • 2 Large strawberries
  • 2 Tablespoons blueberries
  • 2 Tablespoons raspberries
  • 1 teaspoon sliced almonds (she used natural almond accents in oven roasted or honey roasted.  That would have been tasty, but I didn't have any and wasn't going to buy them just for this.  Regular sliced almonds were also plenty tasty.)

  1.  Combine oats and water in microwave safe dish. (make sure the sides are tall enough for the oatmeal to boil up a bit.)  Microwave for 3 minutes (with 1/2 cup oats/1 cup water I had to do 4 minutes)
  2. While the oatmeal is cooking, rinse berries and slice strawberries.  Get other ingredients out and ready.
  3. Remove oatmeal from microwave.  Add jam, splenda, salt, and cinnamon.  Stir until well combined.
  4. Scoop 1/4 cup ice cream (on my first on I actually shorted this a bit.  It was for me and I felt very weird putting ice cream on my breakfast.)  Put fruit on and around the ice cream.  Sprinkle with almonds.  

Taco Pizza with melon salad

All this week is food from Sandi Richards.  I have to write down dinner before breakfast because I will forget what I did to change it, and it was tasty.  To tonight was just a taco pizza - no big deal, and really nothing too specific on the recipe.  I did follow some of her instructions for seasoning the meat, but changed proportions.  I also changed up my toppings a bit because I had planned to use tomatoes from my garden, but I don't have any red ones right now, so I used red pepper and olives instead.  I got cilantro out, but forgot to use it.  I had also meant to top this with some sour cream, but I forgot that too.  Maybe with the left overs for lunch tomorrow.

  • 1 lb ground beef (I used my pre-cooked)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder 
  • 1 teaspoon onion flakes (I didn't add this because it is already in my pre-cooked)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup chunky salsa (I'd probably leave this out next time and add more taco sauce.  I just thought to add taco sauce after I had already added this.)
  • 1/3 cup water (this was a little much with the additional taco sauce, but I just simmered it a bit longer.)
  • 1/4 cup taco sauce
  • 2 green onions
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small can sliced olives
  • 1 cup mozzarella (more or less, not like I measured for pizza.)
  • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar (more or less, I love to add this for extra color and flavor.)
  • 2 thin-crust pizza bases.  (I used Roman dough we had in the freezer from American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza)
  • 1 head green leaf lettuce (I used a spring/spinach bag mix, which I wasn't a fan of.  Should have gone with the head of lettuce.
  • 1/2 cantaloupe, cup into bite sized pieces
  • 1 ring red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup croutons (I didn't measure, just sprinkled a few)
  • Salad dressing of choice.
  1. Preheat onion as high as it will go (if using roman dough - or preheat to 350.)  If using precooked beef, defrost for 2 minutes in the microwave, put in frying pan, add spices, stir, add ketchup, salsa, water and taco sauce, stir.  Simmer until thickened.  (If not using precooked, fry hamburger with spices.)
  2. Meanwhile, chop green onion and red peppers (tomato would be good if you have it.)  Set aside.
  3. Roll dough out thin.  (if using homemade)  Spread 1/2 of meat (I actually used about 1/3 of the meat per pizza.)  Top with mozzerella cheese and a sprinkling of sharp cheddar.  
  4. Bake 5-7 minutes (for roman dough -10 minutes for other dough at lower oven temp.)  
  5. Chop canteloupe into bite size pieces.  Dice red onion.  Toss salad ingredients together.  (lettuce, canteloupe, croutons, and onions.)
  6. Serve with salsa, sour cream or any other topping you may enjoy.  (I totally forgot this.  I wanted to add sour cream.  Oops.)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Salsa-cinnamon chicken with couscous, peas and corn

Gotta love Sandi Richard.  I checked out another one of her books this week since I like the one I own so much.  I wanted to see if this book offered enough new variety to be worth my buying.  So far I like it.  I'm trying to get it written down so I don't forget what I did to change it.  (It wasn't much, but I don't like regular couscous, so I changed it to pearl couscous, and did some other changing of the couscous.)  I thought it was really good.  I liked the cinnamon/cumin flavor.  I think the couscous would have been better with the tri-color pearl couscous rather than the wheat, so I'd probably try that next time.


  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1.5 lb. chicken thigh, boneless, skinless (I think it would have been equally good if not better with chicken breast, and I would probably do that next time.)
  • 1 Tablespoons fresh garlic
  • 1 3/4 cup chunky salsa
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup craisins
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 c pearl wheat couscous 
  • 2 Tablespoons onion flakes
  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 2 cups frozen petite peas
  • 2 cups frozen corn

  1.   Heat large non-stick frying pan over medium high hear.  Add pine nuts and toss until very light brown.  Remove from pan and set aside.  Add oil to pan.  Brown chicken in pan.  Add garlic. 
  2. While the chicken is cooking, combine salsa, 1/2 cup water, craisins, honey, cumin and cinnamon.  Pour over chicken.  Reduce heat to simmer.  Set timer to 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, add water to a medium sauce pan and bring to boil.  Add onion, bouillon, salt, parsley, butter, and couscous.  Boil for 8-10 minutes. ( I added 2 Tablespoons salsa at this point, but I don't think I'd do that in the future.  I ended up adding more of the sauce from the chicken to the couscous on my plate.  It was really good that way. ) 
  4. While the couscous is boiling, rinse peas and corn in a colander and place in a microwave safe dish.  Microwave for 3 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle pine nuts over chicken (I totally forgot to do this.  I will do that when I eat it for left overs because they were tasty.) 

Mapled ham

I bought a boring ham to go with a corn dish I wanted to make the other day, so I went searching around how to spice it up a bit.  I found this recipe at  However, I didn't have cloves, or even pineapple rings at the time, so this is how I ended up improvising.  It turned out very tasty.


    • 1 (4 pound) boneless ham (I actually had bone in, but boneless would have been so much easier.)
    • 1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple 
    • 1 cup maple syrup
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar
    • 2 tablespoons honey
    • 2 tablespoons butter 
    1. Since I had a bone in ham, and being me, I cut a ton of fat off of my ham before cooking it.  I would suggest that if you have a very fatty ham.  You want some drippings, but not a ton. Preheat the oven to 350.
    2. In a 9 X 13 (or roasting dish) put the crushed pineapple and juice.
    3. Place the ham on top of the juice.
    4. Combine remaining ingredients in a medium saucepan and cook to boiling.  Let boil for just a minute or 2.  Pour/brush 1/2 of the sauce on the ham.
    5. Place the ham in the oven and cook for 1.5 hours basting frequently with remaining sauce.  
    6. Remove the ham from heat, and drain pan drippings into a saucepan over medium heat. Cook and stir until thickened, and serve with the ham.

    chocolate oatmeal pancakes

    Going to try to get a couple of recipes typed up today.  I'm getting behind.  I still have lots of pictures to add too.
    I tried Hungry Girl's oat-rageous chocolate chip pancake minis this week for breakfast.  The first time I made them, I followed the recipe exactly.  I wanted to try them, and I wanted to get a feel for the size of the mini pancake when I only had to divide my batter into 5 portions.   I found them to be very eggy and not sweet enough for me.  I adjusted the recipe and decided to make them a chocolate/chocolate chip recipe and was much happier with the result.  They made a pancake that was still high in egg substitute (protein) but the flavor was masked by the chocolate, added vanilla and a bit more splenda.  I also tripled or quadrupled the recipe.   Duncan liked Hungry Girl's version.  It is on page 30 of this book.  This is my version.  The rest of us preferred this version.  The big picture are the chocolate ones.  The little picture ar the eggy ones.


    • 3/4 cup oats
    • 3/4 cup egg substitute
    • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
    • 1/2 cup vanilla soy milk
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
    • 3 Tablespoons splenda
    • 2 Tablespoons mini chocolate chips
    1. Place all ingredients except chips into a medium bowl.  Stir until thoroughly mixed.  Fold in chocolate chips.
    2. Pour batter into 2 1/2 - 3 inch mini pancakes.  Bake on a hot skillet or griddle 1 minute per side or until golden brown.  
    I ate them plain like this, but they would be tasty with some lite ready whip and a cherry.  

    menu 6/24

    My my am I far behind.  I can totally tell that DH is out of town and all the boys are home.  Keeping me super busy.   Not to mention that I've been on a massive cleaning spree.  Doesn't leave a lot of time for cooking extra meals, and even less time to blog what I have cooked.
    This week I checked out a new book by Sandi Richards.  I love her other book.  That made menu planning pretty simple this week.  I have a lot of stuff I didn't do last week plus I'm  going to go and plan using sparkpeople and my head for lunches and breakfasts just to make my life as easy as possible.


    • Salsa-Cinnamon chicken, couscous, peas and corn.  pg. 50 - 20 min prep - ready in 40 min
    • Udon noodle soup with crunchy spinach salad (pg. 62) 15 min prep - ready in 25
    • Beef fajita sir-fry on pasta (p. 114) 20 min prep, ready in 25
    • Maple baked beans with multigrain bread and mixed salad greens (p. 118) 20 prep, ready in 20 - must start the night before - soak beans.  Also need to start early to make a multigrain bread.  
    • Taco Pizza with melon salad (p. 140) p. 15 ready in 35 - start dough the night before to make homemade
    • Apple-cinnamon pork chops with cranberry-rice stuffing and carrots (p. 140) prep 20 -ready in 60
    • I also never made turkey tacos last week slow cooker meal.
    Breakfast - 1/2 of these I didn't do last week.  The rest are from sparkpeople
    • still want to try applesauce tortillas from the tortilla book
    • fro-yo'd oatmeal - HG p. 34
    • Breakfast cookies -HG p. 18
    • Blueberry muffin -HG p. 26
    • bagel, fruit, milk
    • egg burrito (look for fun tortilla recipe)
    • pb oatmeal (or pina colada)
    Lunch - didn't try any of the ones from last week.  
    • coconut chicken taco (HG - 148)
    • Turkey bacon cheeseburger (HG p. 154)
    • Lean bean n cheese enchiladas (HG p. 168)
    • cream cheese, walnut and raisin wrap
    • egg salad pita, vanilla pudding, summer squash, grapes
    • ham sandwich with tomato, cottage cheese and peaches
    • tuna salad pita, raisins

    Sunday, June 20, 2010


    For Father's day, Brandon wanted Pabellon, a traditional Venezuelan dish, or Roman pizza.  I knew there was no way I would have time to make pizza dough yesterday with everything I needed to get done to be prepared for today, so I picked Venezuelan food.  It is very time consuming - not particularly difficult, but the food takes a long time to cook, so it is time consuming.  Pabellon is a typical dish of shredded beef, black beans, rice, arepas, and fried plantains.  It is something I had living in Venezuela various times.  I've never been able to replicate it to my liking.  I really like this black bean recipe that I have made before, so that is what I used today except that I boiled it for a bit longer to see if I could reduce the amount of time in the crock pot because I didn't have that long until dinner by the time I got home from church.  Hope that works.
      The recipes I used to make this were a combination of the shredded beef by Bobby Flay, and another recipe I found here and my own likes.  I liked that Bobby Flay added some extra veggies.  I'm always one for adding veggies when you can sneak them in because my kids don't eat enough veggies.  I'm actually not sure what I used from the other recipe.  I just know I looked at both of those.  For the plantains I decided to try them baked instead of fried.  I found that recipe idea here.  I also made coconut tres leches for dessert because that is what Duncan picked for his birthday cake, but that will be a separate post.
    This turned out so good, definitely one of the best meals we have had, but it took a lot of time.  So good though.  I think I would double it next time though to freeze some and I may try to make the meat in the slow cooker next time - combining all of the veggies at the beginning. Not sure though, because it was so tasty I'm afraid to change anything.  The shredding of the beef was just extremely tedious and I don't usually have that trouble with sirloin in the crock pot.
    It isn't particularly traditional to put the meat in the arepa for pabellon, but I like it that way.  Yum!

    Shredded beef Ingredients

    • 2 Tablespoons butter
    • 1 Tablespoon oil
    • 2 carrots, chopped
    • 2 stalks celery, chopped
    • 1 onions, chopped
    • 1 (2 pound) sirloin steak
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
    • 1 red bell peppers, chopped fine
    • 4 cloves garlic
    • 1 (15 oz) can petite diced tomatoes, drained 
    • 1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
    1. In a large pot, saute chopped onions in butter.  Add chopped carrot and celery, continue cooking until tender.  Remove vegetables from pan.  Put 1 Tablespoon oil in the pan and sear meat on both sides.  Return the veggies to the pan.  Add enough water to cover the meat.  Add cumin, salt, pepper, and garlic cloves.  Bring to boil.  Reduce heat, cover and boil for 1.5 to 2 hours - until tender enough to shred.  
    2. Remove meat, shred, drain  the liquid,  - reserving for later, keep veggies.  Add tomatoes, tomato sauce and red pepper to the beef.  Boil 15-20 minutes until liquid has reduced.  (My meat took forever to shred today, so my sauce boiled the whole time I was shredding and tossing into the pot, plus 15-20 minutes after that.)  I thought I would end up suggesting less tomato, because I had to boil for a while to reduce it, but the flavor was so good that I decided nothing should be changed.  It was still juicy, but I just served it with a slotted spoon.  Soo delicious
    Arepas Ingredients
    • 2 cups Harina pan (white corn flour - I use this brand because it is what I used in Venezuela.)
    • 1.5 cup milk
    • 1 cup water
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    1. Mix water and milk.  Add the corn flour and salt.  Mix until smooth.  (It will be very moist.)  Let rest for 15-20 minutes.   Divide into 8 balls.  Roll each ball in your hand until smooth, then begin patting it between your hands until it is a flattened disc shape about 3-4 inches in diameter and about 1/2 inch thick (those are guesses on the sizes.  Should have measured.)
    2. I baked mine on a griddle heated between 300 and 350 until golden brown on each side.  I then put mine in the oven with the bananas to cook the middles a bit more and keep them nice and warm.  They were so yummy, nice and crisp on the outside.  
    3. Fill with butter, cheese, and/or the meat mixture.

    Not fried plantains Ingredients
    • very ripe plantains - Very yellow with some black (or plain bananas - not overripe)
    • cooking spray
    1. Heat oven to 450.  Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.  Slice the plantain in diagonal slices and place on the cookie sheet.  (I could only find one ripe enough plantain, so I used 3 bananas.  I cut them in 1/2 length wise and the width wise.)  Spray with cooking spray.  Bake 10-15 minutes or until golden brown turning 1/2 way through cooking time.

    Baked Citrus fish

    This weekend has been a bit on the crazy side.  We have Father's day today, plus Duncan's birthday and our anniversary tomorrow, but DH is going out of town tomorrow, so we have been trying to celebrate everything early-before he is gone.  Since food is a big part of these celebrations (at least at our house) it has made for a big cooking weekend.  We started with birthday dinner on Friday night because that was when it fit into the whole schedule.  Duncan of course wanted fish.  He chose Salmon, and he chose this citrus fish recipe.  It comes from the saving dinner book.  Great book - just lacking in pictures, but tons of recipes.  I sometimes add spices to them, but in this case, I actually left the cilantro out.  The great thing about this recipe is that it was super easy - which was nice since DH decided to go help someone move, and I was headed out with friends.


    • 2 Tablespoons butter
    • 1/3 cup orange juice (I was a little shy - I squeezed 1 orange)
    • 1 lime, juiced
    • 1/2 lemon, juiced
    • 6 fish fillets (we used salmon - about 1.5 lbs.)
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • chopped cilantro if desired
    1. In a small saucepan, melt the butter.  Add citrus juices.  Heat until well blended.
    2. Heat oven to 400.  In a 9 X 13 pan, arrange fish fillets.  Salt and pepper the fish to your taste.  Poru the sauce over the fish and bake uncovered until the fish flakes easily with a fork about 8-12 minutes (this was more like 15-18 for me, but I was roasting asparagus in the same oven, so I think that made it take longer.)  Serve with lemon wedges made from the other half of your lemon (forgot to do that.)  Sprinkle with cilantro if desired.
    I served this with twice baked potatoes which I changed a bit from how I posted them originally -see comments in the recipe.  I also grilled some asparagus by melting about 1 Tablespoon butter in a 9 X 13 pan, then I took it out of the oven, added the asparagus, tossed to coat it in butter, sprinkled it with salt, pepper, and garlic blend and tossed it back in the oven with the fish until it was tender.

    Thursday, June 17, 2010

    Hungry Girl Banana Bread

    I checked out 2 Hungry girl books from the library this week.  Trying to see if I want another one.  I have the newest one.  She is good because she makes healthy food.  I tried 2 from the first book I checked out and I wasn't super impressed, but this banana bread from this book was delicious.  Can't wait to try some more recipes.
    This bread had a great, bready texture (lots of time my banana bread gets a bit mushy.  Not so with this bread, and it had no oil, and no sugar (just splenda.)  Plus a serving size was 1/8 of the loaf - breads never have that big of a serving size.  Yum.


    • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
    • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 3/4 cup splenda
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (took 4 for me today - they were smaller)
    • 1/2 cup fat-free egg substitute
    • 1/2 cup no-sugar added applesauce
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    Preheat oven to 350.
    Combine dry ingredients (first 6 ingredients)  in one bowl.  Combine the wet ingredients (remaining 4) in another bowl and mix well.  Stir the wet into the dry mixing just until combined.  Pour into a bread pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. (mine is a little larger (1 1/2 lb. size) so my loaf was a bit flatter.  A regular pan would result in a bit taller loaf.)   Bake for 50 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

    Orange Chicken

    asI found this recipe on Mel's Kitchen Cafe.  It was so delicious.  I didn't bread my chicken.  I was looking for something quick, so I just used my pre-cooked chicken and tossed that in the sauce after I made it and simmered it while the rice cooked.  That made for a quick, easy meal which is what I wanted tonight.  If you want to see the breaded version, check out the link to her site.  This was probably the closest we've ever made to Panda Express orange chicken (the less spicy version.)  It was delicious.  I actually loved that it wasn't breaded and fried.  At least that made it a little less unhealthy.  This is how I made it.
    Update 8/13/11 - made this again last night but the kids had eaten all of the oranges I had bought so I just used orange juice (from concentrate even) I used 1 cup orange juice and 1 cup water.  Still super tasty, and even easier to make.

    • precooked chicken, defrosted (I used only about a pound, but could have used more.)
    • 1 1/2 cups water
    • 1/2 cup orange juice 
    • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
    • 2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 1 tablespoon orange zest
    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon finely minced ginger (I actually used a jarred ginger/garlic and used 1 teaspoon of it then 1/2 teaspoon garlic.)
    • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
    • 2 tablespoons green onion
    • 3 tablespoons cornstarch 
    • 1/4 cup water
    • 3 cups rice
    In a medium saucepan combine water, fresh orange juice, rice vinegar, soy sauce, orange zest and whisk over medium heat for a few minutes. Then stir in brown sugar, ginger, garlic, and green onion and let it come to a boil. Combine cornstarch with water and let it dissolve and add it to the sauce until thickened.  Remove about 1/2 of the sauce to a bowl (I used my gravy boat.)  Add the chicken to the remaining sauce. Reduce heat to low and simmer while preparing rice.  (I just made min in a rice cooker.  3 cups lets me fill it up to line 4.)  Serve the chicken mix over rice with extra sauce for the rice.

    menu 6/17/10

    I'm feeling incredibly lazy about menu planning today.  Probably because I have so many other things to get done.  For now, I'm just listing a few ideas I have for the week.  Maybe I'll get back to it and put it by day, but then again, maybe not.

    Breakfasts -
    still want to try applesauce tortillas from the tortilla book
    fro-yo'd oatmeal - HG p. 34
    Breakfast cookies -HG p. 18
    Blueberry muffin -HG p. 26
    Chocolate oatmeal pancakes - HG p. 30

    coconut chicken taco (HG - 148)
    Turkey bacon cheeseburger (HG p. 154)
    Lean bean n cheese enchiladas (HG p. 168)


    Pabellon - Father's day Try these plantains, these black beans, and this carne mechada but add cumin
    Salmon - Whenever we celebrate Duncan's birthday - baked citrus fish (SD p 172). Twice baked potatoes, asparagus
    Manicotti - Karley's book
    Turkey tacos ( BC feb 06 p.45)
     Ham, Sweet corn potluck pudding (PB Jan 59), green beans (from last week that didn't get made)
    Orange chicken (but just use sauce and pre-cooked chicken.)
    sloppy joes

    Also want to make
    banana bread (hg p. 234)
    coconut tres leches

    Wednesday, June 16, 2010

    Pulled pork barbecue

    My sister Karley typed up and  gave me a bunch of her favorite recipes for my birthday (love this of course.)  She suggested that we try this one first, so I did.  It wasn't my favorite because I'm not a huge mustard fan, but I'm pretty sure DH and the boys liked it a lot, so it gets a 4 star.    I did not eat at home last night, but I tried the food.  I did have it for lunch today, and without adding extra bbq sauce, it was good.  I did edit it a bit to make it a bit more healthy - I used pork loin rather than shoulder or butt (partly because it is what I had, and could find, but it is also leaner.)  I also didn't add all of the drippings from the pork, just part of them.  Being summer time, I also didn't want my oven on all day so I put this in the crock pot.

    Dry Rub Ingredients

    • 3 Tablespoons paprika
    • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
    • 3 Tablespoons coarse sea salt (I didn't have this.  I used 1 Tablespoon regular table salt)
    • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
    • 1 Tablespoon dry mustard
    • 1 (5-7 lb) pork roast, preferably shoulder or Boston butt (I used pork loin, trimmed of fat.)
    cider-vinegar Barbecue Sauce Ingredients
    • 1 1/2 cup cider vinegar
    • 1/2 cup ketchup
    • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
    • 1 teaspoon cayenne (I used only 1/2 tsp)
    • 1 cup yellow or brown mustard
    • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
    • 1 tsp kosher salt (I used regular)
    • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
    • Pan drippings from pork (I used 1/3-1/2 of the drippings)
    • 12 hamburger buns
    • pickle spears
    • cole slaw (recipe below)
    1. Mix dry rub ingredients in a smal bowl.  Rub all over pork (I ended up with extra rub.)  Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (had to skip this.  Didn't have time.)  Preheat oven to 300.  Put the pork in a roasting pan and roast for about 6z hours (until 170 or until it is falling apart.)  (I put mine in a crock pot on high for 6 hours on high)
    2. When pork is getting close to done, make barbecue sauce.  Combine vinegar, mustard, ketchup, brown sugar, garlic, salt, cayenne, and pepper in a saucepan over medium heat.  Simmer gently, stirring for 10 minutes until the sugar dissolves.  (I think I did this way too long.  I let it get nice and thick, then I didn't have enough sauce for the pork.  It was fine because you could easily add more sauce since you only add 1/2 of the sauce, so maybe all was good.  :)  
    3. When pork is done, take it out of the oven (r crock pot and put it on a large platter.  Allow to rest for about 10 minutes.  While it is resting, deglaze the pan over medium heat with 3/4 cup water, scraping with a wooden spoon to pick up all of the browned bits. Reduce by about half.  Pour that into the saucepan with the bbq sauce and cook 5 minutes.   (I didn't have this because I used the crock pot.  I used my Turkey baster to take out some, but not all of the drippings, put it in a pan and reduced it by a little more than 1/2.  Then I added that to the sauce.)
    4. Shred the pork using 2 forks to pull it apart.  Put shredded pork in a bowl and pour half of the sauce over it.  Stir it all up well so that the pork is covered with the sauce.  
    5. To serve, spoon onto the bottom half of each hamburger bun.  Top with some slaw.  Serve with pickle and remaining sauce on the side.  (We didn't put slaw on the burger, just extra sauce.  We ate the slaw to the side, although, it probably would have been tasty on the burger.)
    Cole Slaw ingredients
    • 1 head green cabbage, shredded (I used about 3/4 a small head)
    • 2 carrots, grated
    • 1 red onion, thinly sliced (I used 1/3 of a large red onion)
    • 2 green onions, chopped (these somehow didn't make it home from the grocery store with me.  :(
    • 1 fresh red chile, sliced (my sister said she doesn't use it, so I didn't either.)
    • 1 1/2 cups mayo (I used 3/4 cup)
    • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard (I used 1/8)
    • 1 Tablespoon cider vinegar (I used 1/2 Tablespoon)
    • 1 lemon, juiced
    • pinch sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed (I just sprinkled)
    • Several dashes hot sauce (I let people add their own)
    • salt and pepper
    My sister says she usually halves this recipe.  I halved the sauce part, but not all of the veggies.  I added 1/2 of the cabbage, the carrots and onion, then added more cabbage until it looked good.  I also make my cole slaws in 1 bowl.  I mix all of the wet ingredients together - in this case mayo, mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, and sugar.  Then I add all the veggies and mix.  I figure I don't want to get another bowl dirty just to mix the sauce.  I sprinkled the top with the celery seed and let those who wanted hot sauce add it themselves.

    Orange cherry tortillas/ french toasted tortillas

    This is another recipe from Gourmet tortillas.  I didn't vary from the original.  I would change up the french toast part of it if making it again though.   I wanted them to be a touch sweeter because lately I like eating my pancakes, french toast, waffles etc. without syrup.  These needed the syrup.  I also would suggest not overcooking them.  I think I was a little afraid that I wasn't getting the insides cooked and that caused me to leave them on a little bit too long.  I think that the first batch that DH ate were better than the rest of the batches because I didn't overcook them.

    Orange/cherry tortillas


    • 2 1/2 cups flour
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 4 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1 Tablespoon sugar (I used splenda)
    • 1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
    • 2 Tablespoons butter, softened
    • 1 Tablespoon minced dried cherries
    • 3/4 cup water
    1. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.  Add orange zest and mix.  
    2. Cut in butter until crumbly.  Add cherries.
    3. Add water and mix well.  (add additional flour or water as necessary to make a soft dough that isn't too sticky.  
    4. Divide into 8-12 balls (12 for French Toasted tortillas)
    5. Let rest for 15 minutes.  Roll to desired size (8 inches for French toasted tortillas but I could only get mine about 6-7 inches big.)  For regular tortillas, cook on a hot pan or skillet, for French toasted, continue below.
    French Toasted Tortillas
    • 3 large eggs
    • 2 Tablespoons sour cream (I didn't have any so I used plain yogurt)
    • 3 Tablespoons milk
    • dash salt
    • dash cinnamon
    1. In a medium bowl, beat eggs until fluffy.  Add sour cream, milk, salt and cinnamon (I'd also add about 1 Tablespoon of sugar/splenda, and maybe a touch of vanilla next time.)  Mix well.  I got out my immersion blender because I couldn't get my yogurt to mix in.  Maybe sour cream wouldn't have this problem?)
    2. Dip uncooked tortilla in egg mixture.  The author of the book then fried them in butter.  I just sprayed my skillet with no-stick spray and cooked them on it.    I followed the process of roll tortilla, dip, cook.  While one side cooks, you roll and dip the next one.  Then add that one to the skillet and flip the first one.... until done.  
    3. Serve with butter and syrup.


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