Thursday, September 30, 2010

Taco soup

This is the recipe I usually use for taco soup.  After the taco soup we had a few weeks ago, I was craving this one.  I did try and make up my own taco seasoning today.  It wasn't up to par, so I won't post that yet.
I love this taco soup because it is super quick and super simple.  I was lazy today and didn't even chop the green onions.  I already had onion in my pre-cooked beef and onion in my taco seasoning, so I didn't think it was too big of a deal.

  • 1 lb. Lean ground beef
  • ¼ cup sliced green onions
  • 1 pkg. Taco Seasoning mix
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 cup frozen corn (but I usually use 2 cups)
  • 1 cup water 
  • 2 oz (1/2 cup) finely shredded Cheddar cheese

  1. In large saucepan, brown ground beef until thoroughly cooked.  Drain. (or use pre-cooked)      Add onions and taco seasoning mix;  cook 1 minute. 
  2. Stir in tomatoes, corn and water.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes.
  3. To serve, ladle soup into serving bowls; top with cheese.

Menu 9/30/2010

chunky Monkey pancakes
buttermilk pecan waffles with buttermilk syrup
Wheat berry muffins

Chicken tomatillo tostadas
lemon ginger potstickers
baked fish with cheese sauce (p. 61toh), salad
Rainbow bean soup mix (p. 8 soup in a jar book), corn bread
pork chops with herb pesto (p. 57 hc). zucchini pancakes (p. 54)
Taco soup, Jello with fruit
spaghetti, broccoli

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ham and sweet potato hash

I made this for dinner tonight.  I found it on Mel's kitchen cafe.  I adapted it for my family by adding chipotle powder instead of a chipotle chile and by scrambling my eggs among other things.  I really liked the amount of spicy I ended up with in the meal.  Enough I could taste it, but not enough to overpower the meal or make the kids gripe.  I really liked the spicy with the sweet of the sweet potatoes.  Everyone except my picky won't try anything 2 year old liked this.  I can't say if he would have liked it because I couldn't get him to even keep the eggs in his mouth.


  • 3 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 3 small sweet potatoes, peel and cut into 1/2 inch chunks (I actually used less than 2 medium but that was already 1 1/2 times the amount of regular potatoes I had)
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/8 teaspoon chipolte pepper powder
  • 3 Tablespoons heavy cream (I used half and half, but wouldn't again.  I think it just made it sticky.)
  • 10 oz. diced ham
  • 8 eggs, lightly beaten
  • dash garlic and herb seasoning
  • shredded cheddar
  1. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, toss the potatoes with 1 Tablespoon oil, salt and pepper.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid and microwave for about 6 minutes until the potatoes are tender but not overcooked.  Sir the potatoes 1/2 way through cooking.  (I didn't manage the stirring, time passed quicker than I thought.)  Drain the potatoes of any excess liquid and set aside.
  2. Heat butter in a large skillet.  Add onions and saute for a couple of minutes.  Add bell pepper and continue sauteeing for another minute or 2.  Stir in the chipotle powder.  
  3. Stir in the drained potatoes and the cream (I think I'd add another Tablespoon of butter here if anything, but before the potatoes so it could melt.)  Pack potatoes into the pan pressing them into an even level with spatula.  Let the potatoes cook without stirring them for about 2 minutes so they can start to get nicely browned.  Flip the potato hash mixture one portion at a time and lightly repack to brown the other side.  Continue this flipping process every few minutes until the potatoes are nicely browned, about 8-10 minutes.  (I wasn't supurb at the flipping.  I think it would work better if I flipped better, but I did a flip/stir.  Gentle as I tried to be it made it a bit mushy, but again, I think that was partly the liquid I added.  I can't wait to try this again to do better.)  Meanwhile, crack eggs into a dish, add garlic/herb seasoning and lightly beat.
  4. Stir in ham and cook for a minute.  Push the hash to the outer edges of the pan and lightly repack.  Add the eggs to the center of the pan and cook and stir until done.  (you could always just scramble them in a seperate pan while cooking the hash, but this way they pick up little bits of the hash as they are scrambled.  I liked that, even though it was a little more difficult to do, and took a bit longer.) Serve.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Oatmeal raspberry chocolate chip pancakes

I found this recipe over at recipeshoebox, my new favorite place - so many breakfast recipes.  I had every intention of lightening this by replacing at least 1/2 of the butter with applesauce.  However, after soaking the oats last night, I found that I had no applesauce, so I used all of the butter.  I called these cookie pancakes to my kids because the ingredients looked more like a cookie recipe - 1 cup of butter and 1 cup of chocolate chips (I doubled the batch.)  Wow.  At least there wasn't a whole cup of sugar.  :)  I made them like the recipe said, and they were tasty.  I do want to fiddle with this recipe some in the future though.  I want to replace some applesauce, and I'd also like to try adding rolled barley.  It is a harder grain, but I love it's flavor.  I think it would do well with the overnight soak in the buttermilk.
These were tasty.  All that butter made them have a nice crisp exterior.  The weren't too sweet either.  I still ate them plain.  I did taste a bite left over on a child's plate that had some syrup on it - they tasted like donuts - so maybe I should have been calling them donut cookies this morning.  :)  I also liked the texture of the soaked oatmeal in the pancake, but I had a hearty oatmeal because it was fresh rolled from oat groats.
I also need to note that this batter was very thick.  Original directions had me add all the flour, then the additional buttermilk.  I added both at the same time because the batter was thick.  My batter may have been thicker because I used fresh rolled oats, but I'm not sure.  I'll have to experiment with that as well.    I also found that to get them cooked all the way through, I needed to spread them out a bit, and I turned my heat down to 350 so I didn't burn them before they got cooked through.  Be warned, they took a bit longer to cook than a regular pancake.  I was trying to get them done for my middle schoolers and ended up cutting it close.
I'm writing this as the single recipe, but I did double it for my kids.  My 4 year old ate 3 1/2 pancakes and they were not tiny.


  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk (divided)
  • 1 cup rolled oats 
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (I actually was probably about a Tablespoon or 2 short, but there were still plenty of chips.)
  1. Combine oats and 1 cup buttermilk and let stand overnight.  
  2. In the morning, stir in the eggs, then add the brown sugar and melted butter.  Sift together the dry ingredients.  Stir into oatmeal mixture with the rest of the buttermilk.  Stir in the raspberries and chocolate chips.
  3. Cook on a hot griddle or skillet (I put my griddle at 350) until golden brown on each side.  (As mentioned above, these did take longer to cook than my regular pancakes.  You also may want to flatten them out a bit so they will not be too thick to cook all the way through.)


Panera broccoli cheddar soup

This is what we had with the chicken fingers.  The recipe again comes from my sister Karley.  My boys automatically think everything from Karley is wonderful because she gave us cafe rio pork, and that is a favorite of theirs.
This too was tasty.  I did lighten it considerably.  I used 1/2 the butter it called for and I used fat free half and half.  I have actually laughed at the fact that they make a fat free half and half when I have seen it in the store.  While I wouldn't try it for ice cream, I didn't think it would change the quality of a soup too much, and it cut the calories from the cream in half.  The soup turned out good.  Again, everyone with taste buds :) liked it.  Aaron first used it to decorate his chicken finger.  Benjamin complained about it, but everyone else wanted more.  I thought it was a nice change to a regular veggie dish.  I'm writing this how my sister gave it to me with what I did in parenthesis today.


  • 6 Tablespoons butter (I used 3)
  • 1 small onion, chopped 
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups half and half (I used fat free)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (I actually freshly grated my nutmeg - so proud.)
  • salt and pepper to taste - I used 1/4 teaspoon of each
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  1. Melt the butter in a large dutch oven or pot over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.  Whisk in the flour and cook until golden, 3-4 minutes (I only did this for 1 because I had less butter so it was a more pasty mixture.)  Gradually whisk in the half and half until smooth.  
  2. Add chicken broth, bay leaves and nutmeg then season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer.  Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered until thickened, about 20 minutes.
  3. Add the broccoli and carrot to the broth mixture and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes.
  4. Discard the bay leaves.  Puree soup in batches in a blender until smooth;  (I used my immersion blender and just did short bursts until it was the consistency I wanted.)  If using a blender, return to pot and add cheese to the soup and whisk over medium heat until melted.  Add up to 3/4 cup water if the soup is too thick (I thought it was thick, but fine.  I added no water.)

Crispy chicken coconut fingers

Last night's dinner was a combination of 2 recipes from the cookbook my sister Karley gave me for my birthday of her favorite recipes.  This chicken dish was pretty simple and super tasty.  I thought it was supremely crazy that my almost 2 year old wouldn't even try them.  He likes chicken, and I'm sure he's had chicken fingers before.   I put some in his mouth and he spit them back.  He finally dipped it in bbq sauce, but really only got maybe a bite in, he mostly just licked the sauce off.  However, everyone with normal taste buds thought these were great. I used a little less butter than the recipe called for, I'm sure they would have been a bit crispier if I hadn't, but they were fine this way.


  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 egg lightly beaten (I used 1/4 cup egg substitute.  I had some that needed using.)
  • 1 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch strips (3 breasts for me.)
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted  (I only used 3 Tablespoons)
  1. Preheat over to 400.  Mix coconut, flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder on a plate.  Put egg on another plate.  
  2. Dip chicken strips in egg, then coat with coconut mixture.  Place on cookie sheet (I greased mine and would definitely suggest that.)  Drizzle with butter.  Bake 25 minutes or until chicken is browned and cooked through, turning after 15 minutes.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Caramel pecan light ice cream

Not so sure that this can be called light.  I can't think that the calorie count is all that low, but it looked good so we tried it.  The idea came from Ice cream and frozen desserts by peggy fallon.  It is one of the books I checked out of the library.  I did modify it.  She roasted the pecans in the oven.  That gave me the idea to candy the pecans.  That is what I did and I really liked it.  The flavor was wonderful on this ice cream, but when it froze solid, it still had an icy texture.  5 star flavor, knocked down to 4 for not freezing nicely.    It is now my new goal to figure out how to make a good ice cream that will freeze without being icy.  This was super simple to make.  Minimal ingredients.


  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 4 cups half and half
  • 1 10 oz jar caramel topping -I used a herseys that came in a larger jar.  Maybe not as thick, but added the flavor.  I just weighed 10 oz.
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • dash of salt (pretty sure I forgot this.)
  1. Place the pecans in a small frying pan.  sprinkle with sugar.  Cook and stir over medium high heat until the sugar melts and sticks to the pecans, making the candied.  Remove from heat.  Cool.  Place in a container in the refrigerator.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the half and half, caramel, vanilla and salt (if using.)  Cover and refrigerate 2 hours or until very cold.  
  3. Pour into canister of ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's directions.  Add pecans at the very end of mixing.  Transfer to a covered container and freeze until firm enough to scoop.

Cheesy spinach crepes with tomato alfredo sauce

I found this recipe at  I changed it a bit.  I doubled the crepes part and made my own alfredo sauce because I'm not a fan of store bought. If you like that, then check out the recipe at recipeshoebox.   I also just used crushed tomatoes rather than whole tomatoes because I keep crushed tomatoes on hand.  This was a toss up as to whether it was liked or not at my house.  Tavio loved it.  He thanked me for fixing cooked spinach.  Duncan hated it.  I was kind of in the middle.  Brandon thought they were 4 star.  His vote is going to win for our rating today.
These could be easily made and stuffed in manicotti or large shell noodles rather than making the crepes.  It was very saucy as well made like this.  The picture on recipshoebox did not look as saucy, however, I liked the sauce.  I poured it on my plate and dipped each piece in plenty of sauce.

Crepes Ingredients
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 6 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and mix until well blended, scraping the sides if necessary.  Refrigerate for 1 hour.  (We only started with 1/2 this much, so we had to make more.  We refrigerated the first 1/2 and not the second.  The second batch was runnier and bubbled more without the refrigeration, but still worked fine.)  
  2. Heat crepe pan over medium high heat until hot (water will sizzle.)  Pour 1/4 cup on crepe pan and quickly move around the pan to fill the pan.  Cook until golden on the bottom and dry on top.  I usually flip mine over to give the bottom a little browning.  This made 18 for me.
Crepe filling
  • 1 8 oz package 6 Italian cheese blend
  • 1 15 oz. carton ricotta cheese (I used fat free.)
  • 1 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and drained
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
Sauce Ingredients
  • 4 oz. cream cheese (I used Neufchatel)
  • 1 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 package smoked sausage (I used reduced fat, a 12 oz. package.  It wasn't a lot of sausage, but I didn't think it added a lot to the meal.  It actually seemed quite salty to me.
  1. Combine filling ingredients in a medium bowl
  2. Mix sauce ingredients in a blender.  (I actually heated the alfredo sauce in the microwave, but would just toss everything in blender if doing it again.)
  3. Place filling in each crepe and wrap up like an enchilada.  Place seam side down in a greased 10 X 15 pan.  Continue until all crepes are used (actually we didn't use 2 - we ran out of filling.)  Pour sauce over crepes.  Bake at 350 for 35 minutes.  
  4. While the crepes are cooking, chop the sausage and pan fry it.  Serve on top of crepes. 

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Stuffed French toast

So, the other day I made some stuffed French toast from a recipe in my Hungry girl book.  She only coated hers with egg substitute, maybe a little cinnamon.  I also saw a recipe for Strawberry mozzarella French toast at Family fresh cooking.  But hers looked like it used mostly egg white for a topping.  I had really liked my hungry girl French toast except for it being too eggy, so today I made my own.  I had some buttermilk that needed to be used, so I decided to try a buttermilk egg dip.  Turned out wonderful.  I didn't start out making nearly enough because I wanted to make sure it worked.  Basically I used 2 part egg substitute, 1 part buttermilk plus some cinnamon and vanilla.  We tried a lot of different fillings to see what we liked the best.  Honestly they were all good.  We used Strawberries for all of them.  I would have tried some with jam, but we are out.  (on my list of things to do today - make lots of jam.)  We did try various cheeses.  We tried mozzarella, laughing cow spreadable swiss (light), and neufchatel (1/3 less fat cream cheese.)  Mozzarella brought the mildest flavor to the dish, but it was stringy and I liked that characteristic.  Laughing cow has a bit stronger flavor, and that was nice too.  I started sprinkling splenda on my strawberries here to be closer to the sweetness of the jam because this cheese  was super tasty paired with jam the other day when I tried hungry girl's version.  The cream cheese was delicious because I sprinkled a bit more splenda to make it feel like a cheesecake flavor.  I ate all without syrup.  Yum!
These range for me from a 4-5 star depending on the middle.  My favorite middle was probably jam and laughing cow, but I didn't have that today.
Here is a picture of the strawberry and mozzarella version.

Here is what I did the 1 time I did measure.  :)

  • Bread (I used homemade wheat -actually put my bosch to good use yesterday and made 4 loaves)
  • 1/2 cup egg substitute
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • strawberries, sliced (or your choice of fruit or jam.)
  • your choice of cheese - we used mozzarella, laughing cow light, and cream cheese (though not all together.)
  • Splenda or other sweetener if desired (I put it in the egg mix for 1 when I hadn't put any on the strawberries, sprinkled it on the strawberries on the others, but I planned to eat them without syrup.
  1. In a shallow bowl, mix egg substitute, buttermilk, cinnamon, and vanilla.
  2. Put your fruit and cheese on your bread.  If using spreadable cheese, I put it on first, and put my strawberries on top of that.  With mozzarella, I put strawberries on first then sprinkled them with mozzarella.  If using spreadable cheese and jam, spread one on each side and put them together like a sandwich.  
  3. Dip both sides of your bread in the egg mixture and cook on a griddle or in a frying pan until golden brown.  (I found that 300-350 (probably a bit closer to 350) on my griddle worked well to get them golden in long enough time that the cheese got melted as well.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Crockpot refried beans

This recipe comes from my sister Karley.  It was nice that the beans in and of themselves were simple.  I made them into bean burritos, which ended up time consuming because I made tortillas, diced tomato and  red pepper, and chopped lettuce, but the beans were simple enough.
I found the beans to be quite strong in their black pepper flavor when eaten alone.  However, in the burrito with the veggies and some sour cream they were perfect.  Made a delicious dinner.


  • 3 cups dry pinto beans, rinsed
  • 9 cups water
  • 2 Tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 3/4 teaspoon pepper 
  1. Put all ingredients in a crockpot and cook on high for about 8 hours.  After they are done, drain all of the liquid out. (I started with a spoon but switched to my turkey baster.)  Reserve the liquid.  Mash beans with a potato masher.  Add liquid a bit at a time to desired consistency.  (Karley says to make them a bit runny because they thicken over time. - I actually didn't add any liquid back because whatever was left in the bottom of my crock pot after the turkey baster was done ended up seeming just about right.)

Bean burritos
  • tortilla shells (we used home made wheat and uncooked store bought)
  • beans 
  • red pepper, diced
  • tomatoes, diced
  • cheddar cheese (I actually used white and regular)
  • lettuce, chopped
  • sour cream
  1. Mix some cheese into the beans while they are still warm so it melts.
  2. Place beans on the tortilla shell.  Add more cheese, sour cream and desired veggies.  Roll up and enjoy.  

menu 9/22/2010

Oops.  This has been done for 2 days but not published.  Just went to find it and found that out.

I got 4 new cookbooks at the library yesterday and didn't end up picking anything from them.  One was Gourmet today.  I'd seen it on another blog which said it was great.  I wasn't impressed - a bit too gourmet for me at first glance.  The other was a book on beans.  I read though a good bit of info then remembered my sister's recipe for crock pot refried beans and decided to try that instead.  The other 2 are desserts and ice cream.  I will pick something from there.  :)

Crock pot refried beans (Karley's book)
Coconut fingers with Panera broccoli cheddar soup (Karley's book)
6 cheese spinach crespelles
Sloppy joes, green beans (Sat - mom @ RS broadcast)
ham and sweet potato hash
Taco soup - old reliable recipe
Tandoori chicken and naan
Mongolian beef

strawberry mozzarella french toast, or the HG french toast with jam and spreadable swiss

Lemon meringue tartlets (p. 128)
caramel pecan ice cream (p.40 -ic)
strawberry dream ice cream (p. 46, ic)
banana split ice cream (p. 51, ic)
boysenberry buttermilk sherbet (p. 52 -ic - but use loganberry)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bruschetta pizza

Woohoo.  Dinner is still cooking, and this is my last post to catch myself up - oops, spoke too soon, dinner is beeping.
OK, dinner is over.  Now to finish blogging before I go make some cookies.
This is a pizza we made the other day.  We used Roman dough and Neo-nepolitana from our pizza dough book.  But we used the toppings from a recipe I saw on Recipe shoebox. I liked this recipe for a change.  I liked the freshness of the tomato and basil on top.  I also liked that it didn't have the traditional red sauce, just the toppings.  It was quite taste.  For sausage we used some more of the Italian sausage that Brandon had made the other day.  It was tasty.


  • 1/2 pound pork sausage (not sure how much we used per pizza)
  • 1 pizza crust of choosing (we used a home made like this one but you could choose a pre-made)
  • 1 package turkey pepperoni
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped plum tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme (or 1/8 teaspoon dried)
  • 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  1. In a small skillet, cook sausage until no longer pink.  Drain.  
  2. Top pizza crust with sausage, pepperoni and cheese (we actually made 2 smaller pizzas with this amount of toppings.)  Original had you bake these at 450 for 10-12 minutes.  We baked our on our home made dough at 550 for 6-7 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, combine tomatoes, basil, olive oil, garlic, thyme, vinegar, salt and pepper in a small bowl. 
  4. When pizza is out of the oven, top with tomato mixture.  

Tuna casserole

Well, I'm actually posting this first because I just made it.  Hopefully I'll get the last 2 days recipes posted later this evening and actually be caught up.
This is my favorite Tuna casserole.  I've tried various, but this one continues to be my favorite.  Not sure if it is all the cheese, or the cream of celery soup in there, but I really like it.  It is the casserole I grew up with.  Unfortunately none of the kids here like it so we don't eat it all that often.  :(  I noticed I had never blogged it, so that means it has been at least 10 months since we ate it, so I feel no guilt in subjecting them to it again today.
I ended up making some changes.  Somehow the cheddar I bought for this meal got eaten with lunches throughout the week, so I only had a tiny square.  (should have thought of that as I sliced it up for lunch today.)  So anyway, I had to use mozzarella.  I didn't have regular potato chips, but I usually don't.  It is good that way, I just don't keep those on hand, and I don't usually buy them special for this dish.  I topped mine today with crumbled bread that I made yesterday.  (only with just Italian seasoning and garlic powder.)  Hopefully it will turn out well.


  • 1 package egg noodles.  (I used 12 oz.)
  • 1 can tuna (the small ones, but I have been known to double it - however, it makes the naysayers even more upset.)
  • 1/2 cup mayo (I used light)
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery (I used 2 ribs - a bit more than 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup chopped bell peppers (I used 1/2 a pepper - probably would have used more but that measured 1/2 cup so I didn't chop more.  I used red today, but usually use green.)
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion - I used 1 Tablespoon dehydrated - out of onion (can you tell tomorrow is grocery shopping day?)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 can cream of celery soup
  • 1 cup grated cheese - usually cheddar but today a mix of white cheddar and mozzarella
  1. Preheat oven to 425.  Cook noodles according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, mix mayo, chopped celery, bell peppers, onion and tuna in a small bowl.
  3. In a small saucepan, heat cream of celery and milk.  Add the cheese and cook and stir until the cheese melts.  Stir in the tuna mixture.  Add that mix to the noodles and stir to coat.
  4. Pour into a 9X13 dish.  Top with additional cheese and crushed potato chips or breadcrumbs.  Bake for 20 minutes.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Cranberry roast

This recipe comes from a new website (to me anyway) called 365crockpot.  It is all crockpot recipes.  I wanted to make a crock pot meal with a pork loin roast I knew I had in the freezer, so I started searching.  I chose this because it looked quick, easy, and good.  It was all of the above.  I love that she said I could toss my meat in frozen.  I made this quickly in between preschool.  I cooked it on high because I didn't have a ton of time, and I tossed my roast in frozen.  It was done by 3-3:30, (I put it in at around 10, 10:30)  So I shredded it, left it in all the juices and turned my slow cooker to warm.  Worked well.  I served it with this yummy bread only I only used 1 Tablespoon of Italian seasoning and 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder for my seasonings to speed things along even more since I decided to make the bread at the last minute.  Yum.
I just reread her blog and it says serve over mashed potatoes.  Should have paid attention to that.  That would have been good.  (Of course I would have had more whiners at my table, so bread was probably a better options.)  Instead I spent way too much time trying to decide on a side.  Pilaf sounded great but we've had rice a couple of times lately, so I didn't want that.  Orzo pilaf sounded good, but I didn't have orzo.  I looked for a noodle something but didn't find anything.....  That is how bread was chosen.  Oh well, maybe next time.  The meat was delicious.  I liked that I let it soak up the juices on warm for a while.  It was very flavorful that way.


  • 2-3 pound roast (pork or beef - I used pork, and I think it was a bit over 3.)
  • 1 Tablespoon dehydrated onion flakes (or 1 medium chopped onion - I definitely went for the flakes)
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 16 oz can whole berry cranberry sauce (or homemade - I would have loved to try her recipe but just didn't have the time.)
  1. Combine onions, soy sauce, and cranberry sauce in the slow cooker.  Add the roast and cook for 7-9 hours on low or 5-6 on high.  (Like I said, mine only took 5 hours on high from frozen.)

Louisiana Red Beans and rice

Yet another recipe with picture and no typing.  This on is from a taste of home magazine.  It was pretty quick and easy.  A bit of veggie chopping, but not too bad.  I think I chopped mine in the food processor.  I know I was worried about the red pepper flakes in this, but they ended up being fine.  Just right in spice.  A little kick, but not so much that the kids wouldn't eat it.  That is what I remember at this point.  I really should learn not to get so far behind.  :)

  • 4 cans (16 oz) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 package (14 oz) smoked turkey sausage, sliced
  • 1 cup chicken broth (I used stock)
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped (I think I used 2 red)
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 green onions, chopped (oops, forgot these)
  • Hot cooked rice
  1. In a 4-quart slow cooker, combine the first 11 ingredients.  (everything but the green onions and rice)  Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours (I surely ended up doing mine on high for 4-5)  Stir before serving.  Discard bay leaf.
  2. Serve over rice with green onion sprinkled on top.

Taco casserole

Pitiful. That is all I have to say for myself.  I just uploaded 8 pictures with no blog post.  That is backwards of what I normally do.  I know there are many bloggers out there who post one a day, but they do this for other reasons.  I just want my recipes where I can find them, and I want to remember how I alter them and if everyone liked them that way.  Kind of hard when I'm 8 recipes behind.  Best quit chatting about it and start typing the important stuff.  
This recipe is from last Saturday.  I was out shopping with Tavio, so Brandon made it.  It came from recipe shoebox.  I'm loving that sight lately.  We've liked everything we've tried from there.  YUM!  Thanks again Catherine.  This recipe was no exception.  Seemed like it took a little while to put together, but it wasn't me making the food.  :)  I thought it was a tiny bit spicy, but I'm sure that was the brand of taco seasoning we used - it was a new one for us.  (I really want to find a recipe and make my own - one of these days in my spare time. lol)  I believe the only changes that Brandon made were to use a full pound of meat because we just used a package of pre-cooked and we do those in 1 lb containers. He also added an egg to make up for the extra meat.  Here is our adaptation of the recipe.

  • 2/3 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 1 1/3 cup plus 4-5 Tablespoons water, divided
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons cold butter
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped green pepper (we used red)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 envelope taco seasoning
  • 3 eggs, slightly beaten 
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups shredded lettuce
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 3/4 cup salsa (not sure I added this on mine)
  • 1/2 cup fat free sour cream
  1. In a small saucepan, bring rice and 1 1/3 cups water to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30-35 minutes or until rice is tender and water is absorbed. 
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt; cut in butter until crumbly.  Sir in enough remaining water (the 4-5 Tablespoons) to form a soft dough.  On a floured surface, roll dough into a 12 X 8 inch rectangle.  Press into a 9 X 13 pan coated with cooking spray.  (Brandon said the dough was not very rollable the way he made it so he just pushed it into the bottom of the pan - no rolling step.)  Bake at 400 for 13-15 minutes or until very lightly browned.
  3. For filling, in a large non-stick skillet, cook beef, onion, green pepper and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain.  (Certainly Brandon just sauteed the onion pepper and garlic then added the pre-cooked meat)  Add 1 cup water, taco seasoning and cooked rice.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 2-3 minutes or until thickened.  Remove from heat.  Stir in eggs and cilantro.  Spread over crust.
  4. Cover and bake fore 15-17 minutes or until filling is set.  Add cheese and let melt.  Serve topped with lettuce, tomato, sour cream and salsa.

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Chicken salad wraps and poppyseed dressing

This is a recipe I found over at Realmom kitchen a bit ago, and stuck it on my things I want to try page.  I planned to make it with pre-cooked chicken that I always keep in the freezer, but unfortunately, I was out and didn't know it. The only thing I had was some that had gotten forgotten on the grill and overcooked.  It was so dry that we shredded it.  Well, that is what got used today.  The recipe was actually good enough that it was still tasty even with the super dry chicken.  Of course, Tavio hated it.  Apparently he now dislikes mayo, sour cream, and cream cheese.  (Oh, but he loves cheese cake and eats lots of things with cream cheese with no complaints - go figure.)  The recipe calls for these to be rolled tightly, wrapped in plastic wrap and stuck in the fridge - we didn't do this part.  We didn't want to wait that long for lunch.  :).  They sere still delicious.  We did use some smaller bake at home tortillas which did make it a bit harder to roll.  I would definitely recommend the larger size tortillas.  
I also refused to buy a bottle of poppyseed dressing at the store.  There were very few ingredients and lots of fat grams, so I found a recipe on to try and made that subbing 1/2 of the oil with water.  It was still delicious.  :)

  • 4 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • 4 medium green onions, chopped (3 Tablespoons)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup chopped walnuts (we used somewhere in between)
  • 1 cup creamy poppy seed dressing (I used the recipe below)
  • 1 8 oz. container cream cheese spread (I used reduced fat
  • 8 10 inch flour tortillas (we used 12 6 inch plus finished off the salad with wheat thins)
  • Leaf lettuce (we used green leaf)
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups finely chopped strawberries
  1. Mix chicken, onions and walnuts in food processor bowl.  Cover and process by using quick on and off motions until finely chopped.  Add 1/3 cup poppy seed dressing; process only until mixed.  (I had already shredded chicken, so I just processed away.  it was also dry so I added an additional 1/3 cup dressing to the mix at this time as well.)
  2. Mix remaining dressing (for me only 1/3 cup) and the cream cheese spread in a small bowl with a spoon unitl smooth.  Add chicken mixture and combine unitl well mixed.  
  3. Spread chicken mixture evenly over the surface of tortillas leaving top inch of the tortilla uncovered.
  4. Press lettuce on top of the chicken.  Sprinkle strawberries over chicken.
  5. Firmly roll up tortillas, beginning at the bottom and rolling toward the 1 inch tortilla that is uncovered.  As you roll chicken mixture will cover the rest of the tortilla and seal it.
  6. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour.  cut in half on a diagonal and serve.

Poppy seed Dressing
adapted from allrecipes

  • 1/2 cup splenda
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon diced onion
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 Tablespoon poppy seeds
  1. I think you could probably just blend everything but the poppy seeds in the blender, then stir in the poppy seeds.    I actually blended everything but the water, oil and poppy seeds, then added the oil, let it get nice and white and creamy then added the water, blended for just a second then stirred in the poppy seeds.

Artisan bread

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Italian sausage

This recipe pictured here was gross.  Not even worth a post.  It smelled lovely while cooking, but it was a slow cooker meal, and zucchini definitely should NOT be cooked in a slow cooker.  It just turns to mush.  Yuck!  I also had one of the most bitter bell peppers I have ever tasted.  There were 2.  One was absolutely disgusting.  DH and I struggled through the meal to prove that even we ate things we didn't like, but it was pretty bad.  Bad enough not to be blogworthy.  It had 2 redeeming characteristics- the potatoes were good, and the sausage was excellent.  Brandon had made some more home made sausage.  This one was an Italian sausage.  It was a bit spicier than the others he had made, but still very good.  YUM!  It is definitely blog worthy!  I'm loving this new hobby of Brandon's.  :)  He did make a couple of changes to the recipe, so I must let him actually write it in.  Hopefully that will be soon.  Just getting the picture up before it gets forgotten.
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Fettuccine alfredo with chicken

I found this recipe a few years ago in a food Kraft food and family magazine.  I am not a fan of fettuccine alfredo, never have been, but I liked this version.  I actually remember using this recipe as a base for another recipe that called for a jar of alfredo sauce.  Today it seemed a little lacking in Parmesan flavor (can't believe I'm the one writing that, but it is true.)  I'm thinking it is because I used the shredded Parmesan and not the Grated powdery stuff.  I should have added more.  Still going to rate it highly because I know when I made it in the past with the right type of Parmesan, it was wonderful.  Oh, did I mention it is lighter than most alfredo sauces as well?  Extra added bonus.  Here is my adaptation..

  • 1 lb fettuccini, uncooked
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into strips (I used pre-cooked)
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 3 Tablespoons flour 
  • 1 8 oz package Neufchatel cheese, cubed  (Next time I think I just add this softened and kind of stirred up a bit.  I had problems when it was added to the sauce with it being lumpy and not wanting to mix with the chicken broth.)
  • 6 Tablespoons (3/8 cup) grated parmesan cheese, divided (If using shredded, definitely add more.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions
  2. Meanwhile, cook chicken in a skillet sprayed with cooking spray (Unless using pre-cooked like we did.)  Remove from skillet.  Mix broth and flour in same skillet.  Stir in Neufchatel cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan (probably 1/2 cup of the shredded stuff) garlic powder and pepper.  Cook 2 minutes stirring constantly until mixture boils and thickens.  Stir in chicken.
  3. Drain pasta.  Add to skillet full of sauce.  Stir to coat.  Serve with the remaining Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.  (Can also add parsley.)

I served this with a quick Caesar salad that I made with chopped lettuce, tomato, sliced olives, croutons, parmesan cheese, and Caesar dressing.  Yum!
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Baked Oatmeal

This recipe comes to you thanks to Mel's Kitchen Cafe.  I'm sure I halved the sugar, and I know I subbed applesauce for the oil, problem is I made it a couple of weeks ago and I don't remember.  I so hate that.  Defeats the purpose of my blogging.    I also overcooked it a bit.  I think I forgot to set the timer because I was only going keep it in a minute or 2 more, and ended up cooking it like 10 minutes more.  Oops.  I only thought it was OK, but then again, I overcooked it so it was a bit dry.  I will have to try it again because the flavor was good.  It was just dry. (I will adjust my rating accordingly when I retry this correctly.)   I did see another recipe on Jamie cooks it up that looks like fun to try as well.

  • 6 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup splenda (I may not have used the full cup of splenda or brown sugar - can't remember)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 2 cups milk (I used skim)
  • 4 beaten eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  1. Mix all ingredients together and bake in a greased 9 X 13 pan for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Like I said, mine took a bit longer to bake, but that seems to happens when you use lower fat ingredients.  Just don't get side tracked like I did and leave it in too long. :)
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Grilled chicken with creamy roasted red pepper spaghetti

Posted by PicasaI hate it when I get a week behind on pictures because invariably if I'm that far behind I find a few pictures that I haven't even posted the recipes for.  This is one of those.  I made it sometime last week.  I remember the day because Brandon was home late, I ran to the store while the coals heated to buy a red pepper and something else we needed etc.  Busy day.  Probably why it never got blogged.  I liked it well enough.  It was a new twist on pasta with the creamy red pepper sauce, but it wasn't much liked by the children.  They did however love the chicken, but that was super plain.  The original recipe just had you grill it.  I added some garlic/herb seasoning.  The original recipe also had you add a cup of the pasta water and a chicken bouillon cube.  I just added 1 cup chicken stock.  It also used 4 Kraft singles - Yuck!  I used some other type of cheese - Muenster or colby jack maybe??  Sorry but I can't remember now.
The recipe came from a Kraft comida y familia magazine.

  • 8 chicken thighs (2 1/2 lbs) (I just used 1 package - I think it was 8 or 9 total.)
  • garlic/herb seasoning to taste
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 lb spaghetti noodles (was out so we used fettuccine.)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (I used fat free)
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 4 oz. cheese (I used muenster or colby jack I think)
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  1. Heat grill.  Heat a pot of water and cook spaghetti according to package directions. Sprinkle chicken with garlic/herb seasoning to taste and grill.  (I skinned all of mine but 2 for my boys.)  Grill the red peppers with the chicken for 10 minutes -turning occasionally (they should get blackened).  Take the peppers off the grill and continue grilling the chicken for 15 more minutes or until done.  (Recipe says to put the peppers in a paper bag but I didn't have one so I didn't do them.  I just peeled them when they were cool enough to handle.  When they are black, they peel easily.)
  2. Peel and seed the red peppers.  Put them in a blender with 1 cup chicken stock and blend until smooth.  Pour into a dutch oven or large pan (I used the pan I cooked my pasta in - the pasta was in the drainer)  
  3. Add the spaghetti and cheese.  Cook over medium heat for 3 minutes or until cheese melts and pasta is heated through.  Serve with chicken, top with parsley.

Chicken mango rice salad

I need to quickly blog this before I forget what I did.  I think this is my third post to start today, and I'm pretty sure none of them will get finished today.  Oh well.  That's life with 4 boys.  I found this recipe at Recipe shoebox.  Yet another great recipe from there.  I did do some modifying (which is why I'm a little anxious to post.)  Anyway, I cut the oil, added an extra lime, took out the salt, used stock instead of water and bouillon, etc.  Normally I would have used my pre-cooked chicken in this meal, but I was out, so I grilled up 3 large packages of chicken and chopped them so I could have some more.  Since I was waiting for chicken anyway today I used brown rice.  There was plenty of flavor with the lime and chicken stock that not even my picky (anti-healthier food) eaters complained about it being brown rice.  That is always a bonus.   Here is what I did.


  • 1 1/2 cups rice
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced 
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  •  3 chicken breasts, cooked and diced (I grilled mine)
  • 1 avocado, peeled and diced
  • 1 mango, peeled and diced (mine was enormous so I only put about 1/2 of it in the salad)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 1/2 Tablespoons lime juice (juice of 2 limes -mine was closer to 4 T and I used a third lime)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  1. In a medium sauce pan, saute onion in butter until beginning to soften.  Add rice and continue sauteing until it has absorbed some oil.  Add the chicken stock.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer (20 min for white rice, 50 min for brown - using the brown rice, I ended up needing more liquid at the end.  I kept adding chicken stock, and at the end also juiced a lime into the rice while it simmered.)
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, pepper, and olive oil.  Add this and the rest of the ingredients to the rice and stir to coat.  (I had to put it in a large bowl.)
  3. I served this with additional sliced avocado and diced mango.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Lemon Ricotta pancakes

I must thank my friend Catherine for sending me the link to recipeshoebox.  I am trying 3 or 4 things from there this next week.  This is the first, and YUM!!!  Oh my.  I did adapt it slightly to use my full container of ricotta, proportionally I added more lemon as well.  The result was out of this world - past 5 star.  I loved them plain -no sauce.  Super delicious and honestly, they were very low fat, and I lightened the sugar.  The original recipe served them with a raspberry sauce that was just raspberries and sugar.  I made a raspberry sauce by halving my triple berry sauce recipe, and using only raspberries, but honestly, I preferred them plain.  I had eaten part of 1 before I got the sauce done, and I served myself 2 with sauce - I ended up eating 1 and giving the other to my son so I could eat one plain.  I did try that last one with a bit of lite cool whip on it.  That was good, but unnecessary for me.  The lemon flavor was so good that I just wanted to enjoy it.

 Here is how I adapted them


  • 1 15 oz. container ricotta (I used fat free)
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (I used skim)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 5 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup splenda
  • 2 lemons, zest and juice
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (that is what the original called for, I didn't up it - I didn't measure, just poured an amount that seemed about that much, erring on the side of a bit more.)
  1. Whisk together ricotta, milk, egg yolks, sugar, splenda, and the lemon zest and juice.
  2. Stir in the flour, baking powder and salt. (You can combine these first as recipes usually tell you to.  I added my 2 cups of flour, then in my 1 cup measuring cup added 1/4 cup flour, the baking pwd and salt.  Stirred that together and added it to my mix.)
  3. In a separate bowl beat the egg whites until you have stiff peaks.
  4. Fold egg whites into the other mixture with a rubber spatula.
  5. Bake on a griddle (I found between 350 and 375 worked well.  375 was a bit high, 350 a bit low.)  I like to flatten these a bit with the back of the cup I dish them with.  They don't bubble much like a regular pancake so keep an eye on them.  They are very nice and fluffy.
Yield: 32 pancakes for me.

Additional notes 5/26/2011 - subbed out 1/2 cup wheat flour - would have gone 1/2 and 1/2 but I only had 1/2 cup already ground and I didn't want to grind more.  I'm also planning to sub out Truvia for the splenda, but that will wait for next time.   I also updated the Yield - no idea why I had only 22.  Definitely makes 32 - using a 1/3 cup measuring cup (probably closer to 1/4 cup of actual batter per pancake with the stuff that sticks to the cup.  I just make 8 at a time on my griddle - the size that fits.)

Friday, September 17, 2010

cookie dough truffles

I wanted to make these last week but had  no mini chips.  Today I  wanted to try the better than brownies cookies I saw today, but I have no unsweetened chocolate, so I made these.   I remembered these and that is what got picked.   I love cookie dough, so these looked wonderful.  I actually found the recipe on Jamie cooks it up, but she got it from Mel's Kitchen cafe.  I followed mel's recipe because she used a candy coating and that is what I had.  She used a semi-sweet candy coating, but I had only milk chocolate.  I wish I had the semi-sweet.  These were extremely sweet.  I probably should have made them smaller.  I used my cookie scoop and ended up with 3 1/2 dozen when they were supposed to be 1" and yield 5 1/2 dozen.  Anyway, tasty, but I would really want to make them a bit less sweet.  (Although maybe they are better this way, I can't pig out on them.)  
Note - Day 2 they didn't seem overly sweet.  Yum!!

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cups brown sugar (made my own w/white sugar and molasses)
  • 2 1/2 cups flour (original was 2 1/2 but I wanted them a bit stiffer)
  • 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk (I used fat free)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (original was walnuts and optional but I like pecans)
  • 1 1/2 lbs chocolate candy coating.  (I had 1 lb milk.   When that got low I added 1/2 cup semi sweet chips and melted those.)
  1. Cream butter and sugar.  Add flour, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla.  Mix until combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips and pecans.
  2. Roll into 1 inch balls and place on a wax paper lined cookie sheet. (Like I said, I used my cookie scoop.  Started off being generous, and made them smaller and smaller, but they were still bigger than 1 inch.) Place in the freezer for 1-2 hours until nice and firm.
  3. Melt chocolate coating in microwave. (Mine came in a handy little tray and took 1 minute to melt.) 
  4.  Dip each ball in chocolate coating and return to the wax paper.  Refrigerate 15 minutes or until set.  (Honestly my first ones were solid by the time I was dipping my second dozen.  The dough was so cold that it froze my coating quickly.)  Drizzle extra chocolate over truffles if desired.

cake batter ice cream

My husband got me into this bad habit of eating ice cream everyday.  This past week I decided not to buy ice cream and to make it instead, so we've tried out multiple recipes lately.
I must say, this has to be one of the easiest ice cream recipes I have ever tried.  It was super tasty because it tastes like cake batter.  I thought it was odd because it seemed to have a powdery feel to it.  Maybe if I let it soak in the milk.  I found the recipe here.  She had used skim milk, but the place she found the recipe used 2 %. I used 1 cup of skim, 1 cup of whole.


  • 1 cup cool whip (I used lite)
  • 2 cups milk (I used 1 cup skim, 1 cup whole)
  • 1 cup cake mix (I used yellow)
  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl until smooth.  Pour into ice cream mixer and freeze according to manufacturers directions.  

Thursday, September 16, 2010

menu 9/15/2010


left from last week
Italian sausage dinner (sd p. 18) slow cooker

New for this week
Chicken alfredo (Kraft fall 08 p. 32) with salad
Bruschetta pizza
Chicken mango rice salad
Taco casserole
slow cook cranberry roast
tuna casserole (mom's recipe)

lemon ricotta pancakes
oven baked wild rice pancakes with blueberries

peach black bean soup
snack lunch
1/2 sandwich with yogurt/granola
Chicken salad wraps

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

no yeast pizza crust

Found this too at sparkrecipes.  I accidentally cooked it a long time with the toppings, but it didn't seem to do it any harm.  It tasted fine, but the texture wasn't what I am used to or like in a pizza crust.  A little chewy for me.  I'm not sure why the texture wasn't what I liked because the cornmeal crust was a bit different texture but it totally went with the taco pizza.  Anyway, the Italian seasoning in the recipe totally helped this, so like I said, it tasted good, it just wasn't my favorite texture for a pizza crust.  However, I did also bake it in a pan, but it was a stickier dough and not holding together very well so it seemed to need the pan.  So, on to the recipe.  I did double it from what I found on sparkrecipes.  Thankfully with this recipe I added the water slowly, but I still had to add about a Tablespoon of flour.


  • 1 1/2 Cup White flour (plus 1 extra tablespoon)
  • 1/2 Cup Whole Wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning 
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 3/4 Cup water
  1. Combine dry ingredients in mixer bowl.  Mix until combined.  Gradually add water until you get a nice consistency dough.
  2. Place dough on a greased cookie sheet and press to the edges.  (This didn't work so well for me.  I rolled it partially out on my counter, then pressed it the rest of the way into the cookie sheet.)
  3. Bake at 400 for 4 minutes to set the crust.  (you could probably do a tiny bit more here)  Add toppings (we added sauce, cheese, ham, pepperoni, and pineapple today.)  Bake an additional 5-10 minutes until cheese is melted.  (I accidentally left mine in a long time because my 5 minute buzzer went of, I thought "I'll just leave it a couple minutes longer"  then someone brought in the baby who had fallen down and I kind of forgot about it.  Oops - even turned the oven up for the other pizza.  Somehow it wasn't burnt to a crisp and it was still edible.)

Taco pizza with wheat/cornmeal crust

It was pizza night tonight.  I didn't start early enough for my regular crust that I love, so I started looking online.  Honestly since we upped the amount we have pizza, I wanted to try something new for the crust anyway.  I must post this right away before I forget what I did.  It was tasty.  I got the idea from a sparkrecipe that I found but it needed some editing because I didn't want to follow the directions and add the water slowly.  I just added it all and it was way too wet.  So I added more cornmeal until it was a decent consistency.  I actually liked the additional cornmeal.  Added to the taco feel.  I also really ended up liking the easy-made refried like black beans I made up to go on this.  I thought they went wonderfully with the crust.  YUM!


  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon instant yeast (If you use active dry you may want to proof it first
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 Tablespoon agave
  • 3/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup warm water
Topping Ingredients
  • 1 15 oz. can black beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup salsa (I used Pace picante, mild)
  • 2 roma tomatoes diced
  • 1 red pepper diced
  • 2 cups chopped lettuce
  • 1 small can sliced olives
  • (optional toppings - avacado, jalapeno, sour cream, diced onion (totally meant to add sour cream and diced onion tonight.  Oops.)
  1. Combine all dough ingredients in mixer and mix and knead until a smooth dough is formed.  (It was a little sticky before the rise, but I left it that way thinking the cornmeal would absorb some of the liquid and it did.)  Preheat oven as hot as it will go.
  2. Let rest and rise 30 min (give or take depending on how much you want it to rise - I just let it rise while I was making my other pizza.)  Divide dough into 2 equal parts, roll out to the size pizza/thickness of crust that you want. Place on a pizza peel covered with cornmeal.  
  3. Combine black beans and salsa.  Mash with a potato masher until desired consistency.   Top with cheese.  Cook on a pizza stone for 6 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Let cool on slightly on a cooling rack.  Top with chopped tomatoes, red pepper, olives, lettuce and anything else you might want to add.  I actually added different toppings to different sections of the pizza according to my children's tastes - so half had tomato, half red pepper, all had olives and tomatoes....

raspberry ice cream

This was a wonderful find.  The ice cream itself is only OK to me, but what I loved about this recipe was that it was a makeover recipe from my taste of home healthy cooking magazine.  They took a regular ice cream and tried to reduce the fat but keep the creaminess.  What I liked the most is that they explained some things I thought were interesting before the recipe, so I will share the 2 bits of information I liked.
First, they said that large ice cream companies put maltodextrin in low fat foods to give it a better mouth feel.  Since you can't go out and buy maltodextrin on your grocery store shelf, they have you put fat free sour cream because it contains maltodextrin.  The other thing they have you add is pectin through the apple jelly because it too is supposed to help improve the texture of low-fat recipes.  By doing those 2 things and replacing cream with half and half and whole milk, they cut the fat in this recipe.
I have to say it did have a much better mouth feel.  I had fiddled with a recipe last week exchanging cream for half and half and hoping since it still had a lot of fat plus 4 egg yolks that it would turn out ok.  However, it turned out pretty icy, so I was happy to find a possible solution to this problem.  Now I have to experiment more with it.
I did cut the sugar as well subbing out 3/4 cup of the sugar with splenda.  Not sure if that made a difference in texture or not.  The texture was wonderful soft serve.  When the ice cream froze, it was a little bit hard, and scooped a bit different, but it still had a good creamy mouth feel when you ate it.  Like I said, I'm going to be doing some experimenting with ice cream flavors.  Yum.


  • 1 1/2 cups half and half
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar (I used 3/4 splenda, 1/2 sugar)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup fat free sour cream
  • 1 Tablespoon apple jelly
  • 3 cups fresh raspberries (I used frozen and just let them thaw)
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice (about 1/2 a lemon for me.)
  1. In a large saucepan, heat cream and milk to 175;  stir in 1/2 cup sugar and salt until dissolved.  Whisk a small amount of the hot mixture into the egg.  Return all to the pan, whisking constantly.  Cook and sir over low heat until mixture is slightly thickened.  
  2. Remove from heat.  Cool quickly by placing pan in a bowl of ice water (I actually put mine in a bowl and but the bowl in a bowl of ice.)  Stir for 2 minutes.  Sir in sour cream and jelly.  (I whisked it in.)  Press waxed paper onto the surface of the custard.  Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
  3. Meanwhile in a smal bowl, gently combine raspberries with lemon juice and remaining sugar.  Let stand for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.  Mash raspberry mixture slightly; stir into custard.
  4. Fill ice cream mixer 2/3 full;  (this is important or it won't have room to whip air.  I thought it looked a bit empty, but it quickly filled up.  I had left over custard which I need to go and freeze.)  Freeze according to manufacturer's directions.  Refrigerate remaining mixture until ready to freeze.  When ice cream is frozen, transfer to a freezer container; freeze for 2-4 hours before serving.

Grilled tilapia with chimichurri mayo

This recipe comes from a Kraft food and family magazine.  I started getting these long ago in Spanish, then got them in English too, but they have since done away with the English version, so I'm down to only Spanish.  I guess I'm semi lazy about wanting to read my cooking instructions in Spanish because I rarely use it, but I decided to give it a try this week.  Unfortunately for me, I didn't pay enough attention to how much parsley I needed, and thought I had more in the garden than I did.  I was also lazy and didn't want to wait for the coals of the bbq to heat up so I just broiled it.  The thicker pieces turned out really well.  The thinner pieces were a bit dry.


  • 1/3 cup mayo 
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice (I used 1 lemon which was a tiny bit more than 2 T)
  • 1/3 cup diced onion - I just used a slice that looked like 1/3 cup)
  • 1 cup fresh parsley (only had 1 Tablespoon fresh - I did add a 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley)
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 8 tilapia fillets (2 lbs)  (I ended up using mahi mahi because it was on sale.)
  • 2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese.  
  1. Heat grill (or broiler.)
  2. Place first 6 ingredients and liquefy. Set asid 1/2 of the mayo mix.  (I didn't do this, but I was short on some ingredients.)  Cover both sides of the fillets with the rest of the mayo mix.
  3. Grill (or broil) for 3 minutes per side on until the fish flakes easily with a fork.  
  4. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Serve with mayo sauce.  (I used real Parmesan, not the powdery stuff, and I put mine on and threw it under the broiler for a few more minutes so it would melt.)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Asian lettuce wraps

We like Asian lettuce wraps at our house, so when I saw this recipe over at Jamie cooks it up, I wanted to try it.
The only new ingredient I had to buy was oyster sauce.  I did modify it a bit.  Partially because I had DH helping and he wasn't paying attention that a lower case t is teaspoon and capital is Tablespoon, so he added a Tablespoon of hoisin sauce.  I left out the red pepper flakes.  Somehow, even though they were great the other day, I'm afraid of them.  Especially because this didn't seem to simmer with the sauce much to distribute any heat.  The other thing I modified is that I didn't add white sugar at all.  It seemed like it was going to be a bit too sweet with the extra sugar.  I wasn't at all disappointed with less sugar.  It was still plenty sweet for a dinner meal.  If making it again, I'm not sure I would add as many almonds.  I probably had a bit less chicken than called for because I just used a container of pre-cooked, but there were a lot of almonds.  While they added a nice change in texture, I'm not sure it was worth adding that many.  Maybe just add some chopped up, or better yet, sprinkle some chopped on top.
I also chopped my veggies smaller than she did, (mostly because I chopped them thin and then ran them through my slicer attachment of my food processor to get them diced.)   Point being, they were faster to chop, and they done cooking sooner.  All of which was great because I had ended up practicing some choir music later than I had planned, and needed to have dinner done so the boys could go to a court of honor.  Worked out well.

  • 3 chicken breasts (I just used some pre-cooked chicken to speed things up.)
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons garlic (Totally forgot this and added it at the last minute.)
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup whole almonds
  • 1 head romaine lettuce (although this would be great to put on butterhead as well)
Sauce Ingredients
  • 1 Tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1 Tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 2 teaspoons oyster sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  1. Cut chicken into pieces and cook in 1 Tablespoon of oil.  Remove from pan (or just defrost if using pre-cooked.)  Meanwhile, chop all your veggies.  (Like I mentioned above, I chopped my carrot in half lengthwise, and in quarters where it was really thick and ran it through the thicker slicer attachment of my food processor.  I actually did the same for the celery (cut each stalk in half at the thick end) and red pepper (chopped that in strips first) and even my onion (chopped it in rings, then the rings in half, then through the slicer.  That made quick work of my veggies, and nice smaller pieces which the kiddos complain less about.) 
  2. In another Tablespoon of oil, saute veggies until crisp tender, stirring occasionally.  (Basically I sauteed these for only 5 minutes or so.  The original recipe said 15.)  While the veggies are cooking, whisk all the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl.  
  3. Add chicken and sauce to the veggies and heat.  (The original recipe just said to heat through, but I wanted my flavors to soak in so I simmered it for a few minutes -maybe 5 or so.)  I added the almonds at the very end of the simmer, but like I said above, I'd probably sprinkle them on top next time.


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