Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Oreo Turkeys

I saw these made on a couple of other blogs, but much fancier. I've been making these in my kindergarten class for years, and this year I did them with my pre-schoolers. They are a more simple version of an oreo turkey. Not so much for decoration, but lots of fun for kids.
How it is supposed to be made above, Below, made by a 4 year old

above: the 2 year old didn't do much decorating, but still liked the eating. Below, decorated by another 4 year old.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Cereal and cheese pudding

I must admit, the title doesn't sound too appetizing.  Not sure what possessed me to try this out of The Sneaky Chef to the rescue.  Probably the 3 little containers of cottage cheese needing to be used, and the fact that I'm always up for trying something new for breakfast.  I ended up making it today at lunch time because nothing sounded good, but then I didn't want to wait for it to cook, so I ate some left overs.  Then when it came out I got to thinking it sure sounded weird, and it was kind of jiggly  (imagine that - like a pudding)  maybe I didn't want to try it, so it sat on the counter for a while, then I went to put it away and decided to try it first - I felt like the green eggs and ham guy (probably because it is currently my 2 year old's favorite book - along with go dog go.  I've read both many times in the last few day.)  Anyway- Hey, I did like it after all that.  It was actually pretty sweet.  I think I'll serve it for dessert this evening.
I doubt the 2 year old will try it.  Wish he'd learn a lesson from the green eggs and ham book.  Guess I'll just keep reading it and hope something sinks in.  :)


  • 2 cups whole grain cereal flakes (I used Total, and actually added a bit more)
  • 1 1/2 cups cottage cheese (I love breakstone)
  • 1/2 cup egg substitute
  • 1/4 cup white bean puree (make by pureeing 1 can white beans like great northern beans - rinsed and drained - with 1 Tablespoon water until smooth. -1 can makes 1 cup)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 375.  Spray a 9 X 5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray.  
  2. Place cereal in a ziptop bag and crush to coarsely crushed flakes. 
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cottage cheese, eggs, white bean puree, salt, sugar, and vanilla.
  4. Sprinkle a scant 3/4 cup flakes on the bottom of the prepared pan.  Top with all of the cottage cheese mixture.  Sprinkle with remaining flakes (why I crushed more.  I wanted a bit bigger layer.) 
  5. Spray the top with cooking spray.  Bake uncovered for 45 minutes.

Pumpkin pie with oat crust

I've been debating even posting this recipe because it just wasn't my favorite, but it has grown on me over the 3 days it has been here, and I finished off the entire last piece for breakfast, so it earned postability with that.  The recipe comes from my King Arthur flour book, and since it is a whole grain book, you can bet it uses some whole grain in the crust.  It has barely any wheat, mostly oats, so I really thought it would be very tasty, but I didn't care for it day 1.  Not sure why.  I wasn't a fan of the oaty or wheaty taste in the crust.  I also wasn't a fan of the pumpkiny flavor of the pie.  I know, I know, it is pumpkin pie for Pete's sake what am I saying it was too pumpkiny.  I think that it tasted more like I was eating a squash and less like I was eating a pie, but I can't say it was because it wasn't sweet enough, because it was actually a bit too sweet that first day.  All I can say is that it improved with age, so I would say if making this again, definitely make it the day before, or 2 days before Thanksgiving.  It was definitely much better day 2, and even better today - lost the oaty or wheaty flavor, and somehow the pumpkin blended better with the other ingredients and didn't stick out as badly day 2 or 3, plus the spices and sweetness were better.   Day 1 I would have rated it about 2 or 2.5, Day 2 3-3.5, and today 4 stars.
Other Warnings - the crust was to be refrigerated overnight - didn't plan for that.  After refrigeration, it needs to come warm up for 15 minutes - didn't plan on that either.  (I ought to learn to read ahead better.)  Also, the recipe called for too much milk in the crust, but I have amended that in my version.  I also think I may try it with less ginger and nutmeg and a bit more cinnamon next time (although that was a dislike of the first day and not so much the second or third day, so if made early, the current spice blend may be just fine.)  Final warning is that this took longer to cook than it said.  DH took it out thinking it was done, but it was a bit too soft for me.  I put it back in for another 10 minutes and covered it with foil.  That did the trick.  It still wasn't super set, that happened as it cooled.

The crust

  • 2/3 cup (2 1/4 oz.) rolled oats, ground for 30 seconds in a food processor (I actually did this, this time, last time I just made and used that amount of oat flour by weight.  I would probably use oat flour for a crust in the future.  It is smoother and I think better for a crust.)
  • 1/3 cup (1 1/4 oz.) whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup (1 3/8 oz.) unbleached all purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons (1 oz.) packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • 1 to 3 Tablespoons cold milk or half and half.  (we started with 3 - minimum recommendation in the book - it was way too much.  I was wiping milk off and adding flour.)
  1. Whisk oats, flours, sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl.  Cut the butter into cubes and work into dry ingredients using fingers or a pastry blender until evenly crumbly.  Gradually add the milk until the dough is cohesive.  (holds together and doesn't seem dry and crumbly.)
  2. Shape dough into a disk 1 inch thick.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for up to 3 days.
  3. About 30 minutes before ready to assemble the pie, take the dough out of the refrigerator.  Allow it to warm until flexible (15-30 minutes.)
  4. Preheat oven to 425
  5. On a floured surface, roll dough into a 12 inch circle.  Transfer to a 9" pie plate that is at least 1 1/4 inch deep (but not deep dish.)  Place crust in fridge while preparing filling.
The filling
  • 1 can (15 oz.) canned pumpkin 
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup half-and half
  • 3/4 cup honey (I actually used 1/2 cup honey and 1/4 cup agave but just because I was using some very dark honey.)
  • 1 Tablespoon butter, melted 
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until smooth.
  2. Pour into prepared crust.  Cover with a crust shield (1st time I got to use mine - loved it.) or foil  Place pie on the bottom rack of oven and bake for 15 minutes (I was lazy and didn't do this - I didn't want to have to move it later - maybe that is why it wasn't ready at the time it was supposed to be.)  
  3. After the 15 minutes, reduce oven temperature to 350 and move the pie to the middle rack.  Bake until the temperature at the center is at least 170 (mine was when I thought it was too runny.)  and a knif inserted 1 inch from the edge comes our moist but clean (it didn't pass this test at 170.)  35 minutes.  (I had to leave mine longer, but because it came out and back in, I can't give an accurate time for me.  Just expect it to take a bit longer.)
  4. Remove pie and cool to room temperature before serving.

Orzo and Tuna Salad

Wow, I can't believe how much I'm not a fan of Thanksgiving left overs.  Maybe there's just too much of everything.  I think mostly it is that I just don't care for Turkey.  Anyway, not wanting to eat left overs for lunch today, I make Orzo and Tuna Salad for lunch.  It comes from a 2009 Betty Crocker magazine.  I didn't change too much.  Pretty simple, and not bad - seemed a bit liquidy for me, but tasty fine, and the texture wasn't bad even with the extra liquid.  Also a decent dose of veggies, and semi-simple to make.  (Even more simple if you let DH make it and only go help rinse the noodles.  :)


  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (not sure if DH put this in the water or not.)
  • 1 cup uncooked orzo or rosamarina pasta
  • 3 oz. cram cheese, softened (we used neufchatel)
  • 1 1/2 cups diced cucumber (about 1 medium)
  • 3 Tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
  • 2 medium stalks celery, thinly sliced (1 cup
  • 2 cans (5 oz. each) tuna in water, drained
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill weed (we used dried and I just sprinkled)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat 2 quarts water and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a 3 quart sauce pan.  Add pasta;  cook 7-9 minutes or until tender.  Drain pasta and rinse with cold water.
  2. Meanwhile, in a food processor, place cream cheese, 1 cup of the cucumber, vinegar and oil.  Cover and process until smooth.
  3. In a large bowl, mix pasta, cream cheese mixture and remaining ingredients until well combined.  Serve.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Apple pie

I spent much time debating pies this thanksgiving and finally ended up going very traditional.  I also debated a lot which pie crust and which apple pie recipe to use.  My debate was between this on which I found on recipe shoebox and another which I found on everyday food storage.  I still want to try the one on everyday foodstorage, but not for a couple of days.  I need a cooking break for a bit.  :)  Not to mention a couple of days to clean up and blog.  And then there is Christmas to decorate for.
Soo, pies.  I was actually a bit disappointed in the pies.  This apple was definitely my favorite of the 2.  It did have a good flavor, and the crust was decent.  It was flaky.  It was also probably one of the prettiest pies I've ever made,  but it was super juicy on the inside to the point of juicy puddles.  I let it cool like the directions said and we ate it the next day.  It was better when I reheated it.  Definitely suggest that (of course, DH never reheated his and liked it just fine.)  The second half of the pie didn't seem to have the juicy puddle problem either, so go figure on that one.  Maybe it was sitting yet another day.  I love this second picture.  Shows the flaky crust, the cinnamon all stuck to the top, and the pool of juice I was talking about.
If making this pie again, I would definitely mix the sugar, spice and apples together then put them all in the pie.  I didn't like tossing all of the cinnamon/spice on top.  It seemed to just stick to the apples on top.  I did forget to add the butter.  I realized it after I had the top on and crimped.  So not worth trying to get it in there.  It was only 1 Tablespoon.  Anyway, I don't think that would have had any difference in the cinnamon and spices dispersing through the pie.

The crust (according the recipe shoebox it is the Maryland State Fair winner from 1979.)

  • 1 cup crisco (I used butter flavored)
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg + enough ice water to make 1/2 cup liquid
  1. Cut shortening into flour and salt until pea size.  
  2. Put egg in 1/2 cup measuring cup and add ice water to the top.  Make a slight well in the flour/salt/shortening mixture.  Add the egg/ice and stir with a fork until barely clinging together.  Knead with hands for 15-20 seconds just until it sticks together. 
  3. Divide dough in 1/2.  Roll out half of the dough on a well floured surface (preferably some type of pie mat or plastic wrap to make it easy to transfer to the pan.  Flip over the pie mat or plastic wrap and center the crust over  the bottom of the pie tin.  Press in place.   Roll out the other 1/2 of the dough and set aside.
Apple pie
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 6-7 Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped.  
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  1. Combine 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup flour, and a pinch of salt in a small bowl.  Sprinkle over the bottom of the uncooked pie crust.  
  2. Fill crust with 1/2 of the apples.  Sprinkle on another 1/2 cup sugar, then add the rest of the applse so they mound an inch and a half over the edge.  Combine remaining sugar (1/2 cup) with a pinch of salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger in a small bowl.  Pour evenly over the top of the apples. Cut butter up into small cubes and place evenly over the top of the apples and spices.  (Next time I'd just combine this whole step - mix all of the apples with all the rest of the sugar (1 cup) and spices and pour it all in the pie.  I'd still put the flour mix on the bottom though.)
  3. Place the top crust over the apples.  Pinch top and bottom layers together, trim, and crimp or form as desired.  (She did this cute thing where she cut out left overs of the crust and put them on top to be decorative.  I was actually very proud of myself for making a leaf - I had no fall cookie cutters so I took a round metal biscuit cutter and squished it to a leaf shape.  Worked perfectly.)
  4. Brush crust lightly with milk.  Sprinkle with 1 Tablespoon of sugar. Poke or cut holes for the steam to escape.  
  5. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes then reduce heat to 375 and bake for 45 minutes more.  Watch pie carefully the last 20 minutes and tent with foil if necessary to avoid over browning.  Remove and let cool completely.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Reuben Sandwich

Brandon made this sandwich the other day for dinner.  Nothing sounded good, and I wanted something easy. They were really good and I'm not a sauerkraut fan.  It isn't in my regular format because he typed it up, but I'm not changing it.  :)

1 cup sauerkraut
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp brown sugar
mix and cook on stove top until all the liquid is absorbed

8 slices Rye bread
16 oz corned beef
8 oz Swiss Cheese
Spreadable butter

Spread Spicy Thousand Island on inside of each rye
layer, cheese, corned beef, sauerkraut, and cheese
spread butter on the outside and cook in a Panini press

Also a good addition is pickled onions

Spicy Thousand Island

1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup chopped sweet onions
2 Tbsp cocktail sauce
Mix together

Steak Tacos

Here is another one Brandon picked and made.  It too is from the American Test Kitchen 2008 book.  It was good, but not great in my opinion.  Brandon had it marked a 5, but I lowered it.  I know that part of the problem was we used some chuck we had in the freezer so our meat was a bit tough.  I can't hold that against the recipe.  It was totally our fault.  The flavor was still good, I just didn't think it was 5 star.  I did like the combination of the beef with the pickled onions, but honestly, I think the pickled onions added more to the panini Brandon made me the night before. The picture here is just of the meat and the pickled onions.  Those things showed better in the bowls than buried in the tacos.

1.5 to 1.75 lbs sirloin steak cut into 4 equal pieces
Sprinkle steaks with 1 Tbsp salt
Spread herb paste all over the steak, reserving the paste for later use
Let steak and paste sit for 30 mins
Scrape paste from steak
Sprinkle steak with 1/2 tsp sugar and 1/2 tsp pepper
Heat 2 Tbsp of oil in saute pan and pan fry steaks 2 to 3 min on each side, and 2 mins on the edges
Let steak rest for 5 mins, then slice thin.
Mix paste mixture with cooked beef

Meat mixture, pickled onions, and if desired sour cream and lettuce.

Herb Paste

1/2 cup chopped cilantro
3 garlic cloves minced
3 scallions roughly chopped
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 cup olive oil
1 lemon or lime squeezed for juice

Place in food processor and blend for 3 to 4 pulses, scrape side if needed
Great with chicken or beef

Pickled onions

Here is another recipe from Brandon.  It actually is from a steak taco recipe in the Americas test kitchen book.  He made these for a roast beef panini he was making.  Then liked them so much he decided to try the tacos the next day since he already had the onions.  This picture is of the onions in my yummy panini.  They are pictures alone in a bowl in the next post.


  • 1 Red onion sliced thin
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 jalapeƱo sliced thin
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  1. Place red onion slices in a quart jar.
  2. Place remaining ingredients in a small saucepan.  Bring mixture to a boil then add to jar. Let sit for 1/2 then drain and transfer to a plastic container.

goes great on roast beef and cheddar paninis

American Farm Sausage

This is the sausage Brandon made to go in our stuffing on Thanksgiving.  We also had it for breakfast.  Very tasty.


  • 5 lbs cubed pork butt
  • 5 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp black pepper
  • 1/2 Tbsp sage
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg


  1. Mix all together and grind on course.  

Danish Sausage

5 lbs or pork butt cubed
5 tsp salt
1/4 tsp allspice
2 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp cloves
1 tsp cardamom
1 large minced onion
mix together and grind on course ground
1 cup cold beef bouillon and mix together

I would use the bouillon if I was stuffing into casing, it not using casing I would use about 1/2 the bouillon.

Italian Sausage #1

5lbs. Pork butt cubed
12 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp crushed red pepper
1Tbsp fennel seeds toasted in a saute pan
1tsp thyme
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp sea salt
2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp coriander
1 Tbsp paprika
Take all spices and grind them in a spice grinder or in a blender
Mix spices with cubed beef, then grind them on the course setting.

Brined Turkey and gravy from Alton Brown

This year we were actually super traditional (for us anyway) in our Thanksgiving feast.  We actually had Turkey. Our pies were pumpkin and apple, we had stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans ...  Just good and traditional
DH and I aren't the biggest fans of turkey, and usually vote not to do turkey, but when your 11 year old posts on facebook to his aunt that he looooves turkey!  and your conversation with your 4 year old goes like this .."what kind of meat are we having on Thanksgiving?"  Him "Turkey."  Your "Why turkey?"  Him "Because that's what you're supposed to have on Thanksgiving."  Well, kind of makes you decide to bite the bullet and actually make turkey.  I actually saw this recipe posted on a couple of different websites, all with wonderful reviews.  It is from Alton Brown, so we went straight to the source and followed what he said there. (This link has both the turkey and the gravy recipe, so I guess I'll include the gravy with this post as well.)
I must say, this is one of the best turkeys we have made.  It was very tasty, juicy, not dry.  It did get a bit crispy on top.  Probably because we didn't put it on the bottom rack of the oven?  That is my only guess.  We put it on the second shelf because we left both racks in the oven.  Other than that, it was wonderful, and not overly difficult to make.  The gravy was very good too, and complimented the turkey very well.  (The turkey was so good, that it took me a few bites to want to eat it with gravy, but once I did, I kept eating it with gravy because it was also very good.)


  • 1 (14 to 16 lb) frozen young turkey (ours was actually only 12, but we only had our family - what are you going to do.  I wasn't sad.
Brine Ingredients
  • 1 gallon vegetable stock (I didn't pay attention to how much I needed and only had 1/2 gallon so I used 1/2 gallon vegetable stock and 1/2 gallon chicken stock.)
  • 1 cup kosher salt (I used 1/2 cup and a Tablespoon or so of regular salt.)
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger (chopped this with scissors - so much easier than a knife.)
  • 1 gallon heavily iced water
For the aromatics
  • 1 red apple, quartered  (oops, I chopped mine in smaller slices)
  • 1/2 onion, quartered (I used some DH had already diced yesterday
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 sprigs rosemary 
  • 6 leaves sage
  • canola oil (I used a blended oil)
  1. Warning - start early on this part - I didn't pay attention to the 2-3 days before roasting part - I somehow just thought that meant only the turkey, but the brine does need to cool, so start early.  To make the brine - Combine vegetable stock (and chicken stock in my case), salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat.  Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil.  Remove brine from heat, cool to room temperature and refrigerate.  (I ended up removing it from heat, adding some ice to start it cooling, letting it cool further, then separating it into 2 containers and putting it in the freezer for an hour to get nice and chilly.)
  2. The night before you want to eat, combine brine, water and ice in a 5 gallon bucket.  Place thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in the brine.  If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover and refrigerate or set in a cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once halfway through brining.  (what we did - Poured the brine back into the very cold stock pot.  Added ice to make 1 gallon of liquid.  Dumped that in to our lined 5 gallon bucket and tossed in the turkey.  When I pushed it down in good, the plethora of ice I had in there kept it immersed.  I was worried about leaving it out and wanted it plenty cold.  There was no room in my fridge for a 5 gallon bucket, and it was a pretty warm evening -had the ac running.  It seemed to work well.  Unfortunately for me, this process took me until 12:30 because I didn't start until after I put the kids to bed - I do NOT recommend that.  Our bird did stay plenty cold though.) 
  3. When ready to cook the bird
  4. Preheat oven to 500 degrees
  5. Remove bird from the brine and rinse inside and out with cold water.  Discard the brine.
  6. Place the bird on a roasting rack inside half sheet pan (we used a roasting pan.) and pat dry with paper towels.
  7. Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes.  Add steeped aromatics to the turkey's cavity along with the rosemary and sage. Tuck wings under the bird and coat skin with oil.
  8. Roast turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 for 30 minutes.  (I'd keep an eye on this because the top of our bird got a bit too done on top.  We actually covered it for the next part.)  Insert a probe thermometer into the thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350.  Set the thermometer alarm to 161. (Hmm, the recipe at the gravy site says 151.  The recipe on the turkey site says 161.  We used the turkey site and looked up the gravy later.)  A 14-16 lb bird should take 2 to 1 1/2 hours of roasting.  Let rest for 15 minutes before carving.

Gravy Ingredients (modified correctly by my DH)
  • 24 oz chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 Tablespoon oregano
  • 1/2 Tablespoon thyme
  1. Remove turkey from the roasting pan and set aside to rest.  Separate fat and transfer into a sauce pan. Add in chicken stock and spices.  Bring to a boil, then add in flour and use hand mixer to eliminate clumps.  Heat until thick.

Cheddar mashed potatoes

I saw this in my Taste of home healthy cooking magazine a month or month and a half ago and have been waiting to try it.  It seemed very interesting to me because it used a bunch of regular potatoes and 1 sweet potato, and also looked like it had some tasty spices.  It did not disappoint.  Really we were lucky this year.  Everything turned out so well.  Very good food for all of Thanksgiving. I made a couple of changes - I'll mention them in the recipe though.  I thought I had taken a picture of the potatoes, but I guess not.  This is the best I could do.  A picture them on the plate with the rest of the Thanksgiving dinner.


  • 3 3/4 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cubed (I just used russet.  It is what I had.)
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 6 garlic cloves, halved
  • 1 cup (8 oz.) reduced-fat sour cream 
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  1. Place potatoes and garlic in a large saucepan and cover with water.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and cook for 10-15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.  Drain.
  2. In a large bowl (I threw them in my mixer) mash potatoes.  Stir in the sour cream, thyme, salt, pepper and 1 cup cheese.  Transfer to a 9 X 13 pan coated with cooking spray.  
  3. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Bake, uncovered at 350 for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Apple sausage stuffing {slow cooker}

Finished eating round 1 of Thanksgiving so I guess I need to start blogging the recipes or I'll be sure to get plenty behind.  Some of the things we made were tried and true.  I made some green beans (although I didn't steam them quite long enough and I thought I'd be lazy and melt the butter in the microwave and add the beans and stir - they didn't get coated nearly as well.  Not such a good idea.)  I also made my mom's rolls.  Sooo good. My kids call them Grandma's rolls.  Yum!  Made a double batch last night and made 1/2 into cinnamon rolls for breakfast.  1/2 for rolls for lunch.
This is the first recipe I clicked on, so it gets to be the first one blogged about.  I found this at crockpot 365.  It was surprisingly good.  We made it a bit more time consuming than necessary because we made bread for it yesterday, then homemade sausage today, but normally it wouldn't take quite that much time.  Definitely worth the effort, and not as time consuming as another stuffing recipe I have.  I like that it used regular bread. I also loved the flavor of the sausage and the apple.  They really complimented each other well.  I worried it would be soggy because Brandon decided to broil the bread rather than follow directions and he didn't turn them, but it turned out just fine.


  • 12 cups  bread cubes (I used homemade wheat bread this recipe today)
  • 8 oz. ground pork sausage (we used a homemade breakfast sausage recipe)
  • 3 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped Granny smith apples
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped celery
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons rubbed sage
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock, plus and additional 1/4 cup if desired (we did not use the extra 1/4 cup.  Those wanting more liquid added gravy.)
  1. Use a 6 quart slow cooker (or larger if you have one - this barely fit in my 6 quart.)  Cut the bread into 1/2 inch cubes and bake it at 350 for 20 minutes, flipping once, or until bread is golden brown and toasted.  (Alternately DH Broiled it on high for 10 minutes and didn't flip it.  But he did have it on a middle rack.)
  2. While bread is toasting, brown the sausage and drain.  Toss the bread cubes and sausage together in the slow cooker and pour in melted butter.
  3. Add apples, vegetables and seasonings.  Stir to mix well.  Pour in 1/2 cup chicken stock and stir gently to coat bread and veggies with broth.  
  4. Cover and cook on high for 2 to 3 hours.  Done when bread is browned on the top and edges, and the vegetables are tender.
  5. Stir well and keep on warm until ready to serve.  Add additional 1/4 cup chicken stock before serving and stir again if desired.

So, this post gets my Thanksgiving timing rundown for the year.  Just in case I'm wondering what I did next year.  Was going to add a recipe, but this post is getting very long, so I have decided not to.

Wednesday -

  • Made 4 loaves of bread -for stuffing and just to have. (do this Monday or Tuesday next year) 
  • Made 2 batches of rolls - one for cinnamon rolls and 1 for rolls
    • I froze the rolls - they rose in 2.5-3 hours not 4-6 from frozen.
    • I refrigerated the cinnamon rolls hoping they'd do a slow enough rise in the fridge to be ready in the morning.  They still needed to rise for about 45 min - 1 hour this morning.
  • Made Cranberry salad - started in afternoon - Use the 10 or 12 oz - whatever the smaller bag is of marshmallows.  I used the 16 oz. this time, and it wasn't as juicy. 
  • Made Apple pie
  • Made pumpkin pie crust - wanted to do the whole pie but didn't read ahead to see that I needed to refrigerate the crust.
  • Made the brine for the turkey and got it in the brine - also didn't read ahead to see that I should have done that a lot earlier and put it in the fridge (although I'm not sure where I would have stored it any earlier.)  I ended up making the brine - way too late, then adding a bit of ice to cool it, then  putting it in 2 containers in the freezer to get it very cool.  Then adding ice to make 2 gallons of liquid.  It worked fine, but I definitely should have started that earlier in the day.  Didn't get to bed until 12:30 last night.
  • Boiled eggs for Deviled eggs
  • Diced onions for various dishes tomorrow
  • combined sausage spices
Thanksgiving day
  • Baked the cinnamon rolls
  • Baked the turkey
  • Made the stuffing - 
    • made the sausage - spices were put together last night, but pork was ground and combined this morning.
    • cut and toasted the bread
    • Stuffing into the slow cooker
  • Baked the rolls
  • Made the pumpkin pie
  • Made the mashed potatoes
  • Made the green beans
  • Made the gravy
  • Made the deviled eggs
  • Will still put together a veggie tray.
The menu
  • cinnamon rolls
  • milk
  • Turkey
  • Gravy
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Stuffing
  • Cranberry Salad
  • Green beans
  • Rolls
  • Chips with sour cream and onion dip
  • Deviled eggs
  • Veggie tray
    • baby carrots
    • celery
    • olives
  • Pies - Apple and Pumpkin 
  • Left over lunch for anyone desiring more turkey, stuffing, potatoes etc.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Buttermilk rye bread

Brandon decided he wanted to make Ruben sandwiches for dinner and asked me to make rye bread, so I went to my King arthur flour book.  I had my choices of a quick bread, rolls, or a rye with raisin or something like that, so I went with the quick bread.  Sure was easy to prepare.  I hope it turns out good for sandwiches.  I don't think I've had a quickbread for sandwiches before.
I did leave out the caraway seeds because I personally am  not a fan, and I thought more kiddos would like it minus the caraway.  It also called for orange zest.  I didn't have any.  I did add lime zest.  Also, to be honest, I ran out of molasses and filled the rest of the cup with honey.  I had a little over 1/2 molasses, the rest honey.  Here is what I did.
I thought it was fine in the sandwich, but Brandon said it was too sweet.  I think that is was fine for a quickbread, but I never actually ate a piece plain.  Unfortunately it was Thanksgiving right after I made this and we had too much other bread that I never ate anymore before it molded.  :(   Picture is of the sandwich.  It looked lots better than just the loaf of bread.


  • 2 cups (7 1/2 oz.) rye flour (I ground mine fresh)
  • 1 cup (4.5 oz.) unbleached bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups (14 oz.) buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup (3 oz.) molasses
  • 1 egg
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Grease a 9 X 5 inch loaf pan. 
  2. Whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl.  
  3. In another bowl, whisk together buttermilk, molasses, egg and lime zest. 
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir quickly and lightly until the batter is evenly moistened.  Stir in butter.
  5. Pour into prepared pan.  Bake 55 minutes to 1 hour -until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  
  6. Remove from oven and place on a rack to cool for 15 minutes.  After 15 minutes, run a butter knife around the edges of the pan to make sure the bread isn't sticking, turn it out of the pan and finish cooling on the rack.

Thanksgiving menu

Thanksgiving Menu

Brined turkey by Alton Brown
Apple pie ??
Cheddar mashed potatoes HC p. 34
Cranberry salad
Fabulous green beans
slow cooker sausage stuffing
Golden Pumpkin pie (King Arthur p. 471-472)

Plan - Make rolls, pies, and cranberry salad Wed.  Rest on Thursday

Other Days this week

Thai Tilapia with Peanut Sauce BC 9/09 - p 20
Mini Turkey pot pies PB 9/07 p. 46 - but use more mom's insides and left over turkey
Taco Macaroni Supper Skillet PB 9/01 p. 26
Ham with left over Thanksgiving sides
Paninnis - Rubens -

Lunch -
Orzo and Tuna Salad bc 9/09 p. 64

Monday, November 22, 2010

Quesadilla pie

This is another recipe form an old Pillsbury magazine.  This one from 2007.  I actually wrote notes in this on.  I had kids loved it, I doubled the beans and tomato - good for me.  Had I always done that maybe I wouldn't need a blog.  LOL No, I'd still need an easy way to find things.  So this was still good this time around.  I left out the cilantro - not a huge fan.  It would have been fine, but not worth washing and chopping today.  It was so funny.  I told Tavio (11 year old) that I had the note in there that they liked it and he said - hey I don't remember having this ever before, but then we don't have anything very often.  (He is not a huge fan of our varied eating schedule.)  Anyway, here is how I made it.
Above - whole pie, below, 1 piece.


  • 1 4.5 oz. can chopped green chiles (I used mild)
  • 2 cans (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained (was going to try 1 can pintos and 1 can black today but I had no pintos in my pantry)
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onions (2 for me)
  • 2 medium roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 can (10 oz) green enchilada sauce (Mine was 15 oz, and I didn't use it all.)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Monterrey Jack cheese (original was pepper jack -If you like spicy, try it that way.)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 4 -8 inch tortillas (Use pretty big ones - I actually use 8 6 inch)
  1. Heat oven to 400.  Spray a large glass pie plate with cooking spray.  (This larger amount would not fit in my normal size glass plate, but I have one that is a bit bigger and deeper and it works perfectly.)
  2. In a medium bowl, mix chiles, beans, onions, tomatoes, 2/3-1  cup of the enchilada sauce, Monterrey Jack cheese, and 1/2 cup cheddar cheese;  set aside.
  3. Spoon 1/4 cup enchilada sauce into pie plate.  Top with 1 tortilla (I use 2 of the 6 inchers and leave 1 whole and cut the other in half and put it kind of like Mickey Mouse ears to the side to cover the plate.)  Cover tortilla with 1/3 of the bean mixture.  Repeat twice more to make 3 layers.  Top with remaining tortilla.  Cover loosely with foil.  
  4. Bake 30 minutes.  Uncover; sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese.  Bake 5-7 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.  Serve with salsa and cilantro if desired.

whole wheat sandwich bread

OK, trying yet another wheat bread recipe.  While I love the one I have used, I preferred it when I only made 1 loaf at a time.  It seems to be getting too gummy lately or something.  Probably just too much gluten, but I don't want to mess much with it.  This recipe is from my  King Arthur Flour book.  It has the potato flakes like my favorite recipe so far, and it has Orange juice which I suspect acts like the vinegar in my favorite recipe.  It also has powdered milk like my favorite recipe.  It has more butter which I wasn't doing cartwheels over.  I debated cutting it in half, but for the first try of the recipe I resisted the urge.    I did swap out white sugar for agave because I like the flavor in my bread, and I reduced the salt because my favorite bread only uses 1 teaspoon, so I didn't figure I needed more.  I also upped the yeast to 1 Tablespoon just because I'm a lazy measurer, and wouldn't mind my bread rising a tinge faster.  So here is what I did.


  • 2 Tablespoons orange juice (I squeezed some fresh)
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 3 cups (12 o) whole wheat flour (mine was 13.6 oz, but I left it since I added liquid with the agave)
  • 3 Tablespoons agave
  • Heaping 1/2 cup dried potato flakes (1.25 oz.)
  • 1/4 cup nonfat dry milk (1 oz.)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon yeast
  1. Combine all ingredients in mixer.  Knead with dough hook for 10 minutes.
  2. Let rise until double, about 1 hour.
  3. Grease a 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan.  Deflate dough and shape it into an 8 inch log.  Put in prepared pan.
  4. Let rise until crowned about 1 1/2 inches over the rim of the pan (1-2 hours)
  5. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes tenting with foil after 15 minutes.

Updated notes from 11/25 - I made this again and quadrupled  it yesterday.  I didn't have orange juice so I used 1/2 water and 1/2 cider vinegar.   Turned out great.  I did have to add a bit more liquid not sure if I added an extra cup of flour, or just needed the extra liquid because I also cut the butter in half.  I don't think I lost count of my cups, but at almost 10 I ran out of wheat and had to dig some out of the very back of my pantry (under my stairs)  Then I had to open the bucket and my bucket opening tool was nowhere to be found, so it is entirely possible that I was really on almost 11 cups not almost 10.  I'll have to make it again X 4 and see.  I added 1/4 cup more water.
Sooo, Ingredients looked like this today

  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar

  • 4 1/4 cup warm water (plus another 1/4 cup later when it was a bit too dry for my liking)

  • 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes (1 stick)

  • 12 cups whole wheat flour 

  • 12 Tablespoons agave (3/4 cup)

  • Heaping 2 cups dried potato flakes (1.25 oz.)

  • 1 cup nonfat dry milk (1 oz.)

  • 4 teaspoons salt

  • 4 Tablespoon yeast (actually I used 3 Tablespoons and 1 teaspoon I think because my bread rose a bit quick and then deflated a bit in the oven last time.  I still had a little bit of deflation on a couple of loaves this time, but not as bad as the last time.)

  • Strawberry and vanilla breakfast cookies

    Here is the third recipe I tried this weekend from The Sneaky Chef to the rescue book.  I decided to try these because they seemed like a nice quick and easy - make ahead breakfast.  Since both myself and DH were assigned to speak at church this past Sunday I figured Sunday morning would be a bit crazy -usually is anyway with 4 boys, but I decided to make these Saturday evening.
    They weren't bad if you think of them as a breakfast and not so much as a cookie.  Definitely don't have the sweetness of a cookie, but I liked them.  The kids didn't mind them either and each ate 3-4 for breakfast with a yogurt.  Except of course the 2 year old who didn't even want to try them.  I think he had a bite of one at lunch time, but that is is.
    Final verdict - not bad for a different, healthy breakfast not loaded with sugar.  Definitely good for an on-the-go breakfast and a quick and easy morning.
    I actually followed the ingredients right from the book.  I've rewritten the directions though.


    • 6 Tablespoons butter, melted
    • 1 cup flour blend (basically equal parts AP flour, wheat flour, and wheat germ.  I mixed 1/2 cup each and had a bit left over.  You could easily just use 1/3 cup of each for this recipe - or just use all whole wheat.)
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 3 cups rolled oats (I rolled from groats - worked well)
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla
    • 1 cup Strawberry Puree (just pureed strawberries - I thawed some frozen I had and pureed them in the food processor -Use 2-2 1/2 cups frozen to make a cup of puree - I used a generous 2 1/2 cups, and have 1/4 cup puree left over which I froze for future use.)
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
    • 1/4 cup strawberry jam 
    1. Preheat oven to 350.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
    2. In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.  (flour blend, baking soda, salt, oats.)
    3. In another bowl, whisk together eggs, vanilla, strawberry puree, sugar, and melted butter.
    4. Stir the dry into the wet.  Drop by Tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheet, leaving about an inch between cookies.  Scoop up 1/2 teaspoon jam in a measuring spoon.  Make a small indent with the back of the spoon in a cookie and fill with the jam on the spoon.  Repeat for each cookie.
    5. Bake for 25-28 minutes or until "golden brown."  (?? to the golden brown - these cookies are pretty dark, not sure how you were supposed to see golden brown.  I cooked mine 25 then added 2 minutes. and took them out.

    Sunday, November 21, 2010

    "Treasure stuffed shells" -sneaky stuffed shells

    kThis is what I made yesterday out of The sneaky Chef to the rescue.  I was a bit worried about it because it had a large dose of puree and the puree contained zucchini which DH does not like.  I did do some massive re-vamping to this because it looked like it was going to be extremely bland.  It had no type of seasonings in it whatsoever, just tomato sauce, cheese and puree.  Well, I knew I wouldn't like that so I spiced it up a good deal. When discussing that with DH at dinner his comment was "you spiced this up, I thought it was kind of bland.  Other than lacking a tiny bit in the flavor department, it was good.  I could make it again - everyone seemed to like them - except of course for picky 2 year old who wouldn't touch them even tough I just gave him red sauce and noodles - but the noodles didn't look like spaghetti so they were spurned.  Still not sure how that child grows.
    I also doubled the recipe in the book.  That worked out perfectly for the amount of sauce I made.  Here is what I did - with some notes for next time - For the red sauce - I just used my pizza sauce recipe from my Peter Reinhart book - very basic though - I'd probably go a bit heavier on the Italian seasonings next time.

    Red Sauce

    • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
    • 1/4 teaspoon pepper (probably up to 1/2 next time)
    • 1 teaspoon dried basil
    • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
    • (next time add Italian seasoning - up to 1 Tablespoon)
    • 5 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
    • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice (or 2 of either - we just like the flavor of 1 of each the best.)
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt - I think I forgot this - that would definitely have helped
    1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl
    White Puree
    • 2 cups cauliflower florets
    • 2 small to medium zucchini, peeled and coarsely chopped
    • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
    1. Stem the cauliflower for about 10 minutes -until very tender.  Drain.
    2. Meanwhile, place the zucchini in a food processor with the lemon juice and process until well chopped.
    3. When cauliflower is done, add it to the food processor and puree until smooth - adding 1-2 Tablespoons of water if necessary (I didn't need it.)
    Stuffed Shells Ingredients
    • 1 box large pasta shells (I did not use the entire package.  Some were broken when cooked, and I stuffed a few with plain mozzarella)
    • 1 cup ricotta (I used fat free)
    • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    • 1 1/2 cups white puree (above)
    • 1/2 cup egg substitute
    • 6 Tablespoons wheat germ
    • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (could probably add another teaspoon or 2 depending on what you add to the sauce)
    • 1 recipe red sauce (above)
    • 1 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese (I didn't measure.  Just put on a nice amount.)
    1. Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a 10 X 15 pan with cooking spray.  
    2. Cook shells according to package directions until slightly firm.  Drain and set aside. 
    3. Meanwhile, mix ricotta, Parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup of the white puree, egg substitute, Italian seasoning and wheat germ in a bowl. \
    4. Combine tomato sauce with remaining White Puree in another bowl.
    5. Pour about 1 1/2 cups of the red sauce mixture onto the bottom of the 10 X 15.  Fill shells with about a Tablespoon of white sauce.  Place on top of red sauce in the dish.  Top shells with remaining red sauce then the mozzarella cheese.
    6. Cover with foil.  Bake 20 minutes, uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until the top is lightly browned. 

    30 minute rolls

    I have used this recipe in other recipes before, but never just made the rolls, or at least never posted it, and for some reason it was hard to find on real mom kitchen today, and I couldn't remember if it was exactly the same as the 45 minute cinnamon rolls or not.  So, I'm posting it here because I had some issues with it today as rolls and I need to write my notes.
    I'll write out the recipe, then my notes.


    • 1 1/8 cup warm water
    • 1/3 cup oil
    • 2 Tablespoons yeast
    • 1/4 cup agave (can use sugar or honey, I just like agave in my bread)
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 egg
    • 3 1/2 cups flour (today I used about 1/2 wheat, 1/2 white - had a bit of wheat germ thrown in the mix too.)
    1. Mix first 4 ingredients and let rest for 15 minutes.  Add salt, eggs and flour.  Mix until smooth.  
    2. Shape into rolls.  Let rise 10 minutes.  Bake 10 minutes at 400, until golden brown.
    These are Very sticky.  I had a lot of trouble trying to shape them, and I wasn't very good at making them the right size to make 12.....I was trying to shape with oiled hands - they were sticking in the pan.....  I ended up scrapping everything I did and, rolling everything in a ball, tossing it on a flour covered counter - rolling it around and cutting it into 12 pieces with my pastry scraper.  That worked well.
    I also tried to bake these in a 9X9 pan today.  I wanted the shape of rolls cooked together for my sliders because it seemed like that was a traditional shape.  That did not work well with this recipe - they took forever to cook.  I finally took them out when they didn't seem jiggly, but they were still doughy.  Tasted great in the end, but massive troubles.  I wouldn't recommend cooking them in a 9 X 9 again unless you plan to double the cooking time, and possibly cover the tops so they don't burn.  If you want rolls that really are 30 minute rolls, shape them and cook them either separated on a cookie sheet or in muffin tins.

    Sneaky sliders

    This week I kind of went a bit crazy at the library -ok, honestly it wasn't at the library that I went a bit crazy it was online a over the process of a week that I've been looking at books and requesting them.  There just happened to be 8 or 9 of them in this week.  (all cookbooks.)  So, I've been looking through a bunch of stuff.  This weekend I decided to choose a couple of recipes from The Sneaky Chef to the rescue.  Actually I also have The regular sneaky chef out, but I used this new one this weekend.  So if you haven't read these or used them, they use a lot of vegetable purees in regular recipes to "sneak" veggies into your kids.  I have tried the first sneaky chef a while ago, but it is a lot of work to puree veggies and "sneak" them into your kids.  Plus we just have a no thank you portion rule at our house that you get a small portion you have to try and you can say no thank you to having more, but not to trying a couple bites of something new.  However, my 2 year old is about the most stubborn guy that I know.  He won't keep anything I try to put in his mouth in his mouth, and he'd just as soon go hungry as try something new.  So, I actually worry about him getting enough to eat, and definitely enough nutrition.  So, I decided to try some new things.  Unfortunately this is the third recipe I've tried, and I don't think he has tried any of them.  I'm writing this one first because I hope not to forget what I did.  I added some spices.


    • 1/2 cup green puree (see below)
    • 1 Tablespoon ketchup
    • 1/4 cup wheat germ
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon onion powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
    • dash Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 pound lean ground beef
    • 12 small soft dinner rolls (I used some 30 minute rolls -recipe to follow)
    • optional toppings - lettuce, onion, pickles, tomato, cheese, ketchup, mustard -- We topped ours with white cheddar, tomato and diced spinach today)
    1. In a large bowl, mix green puree, ketchup, wheat germ, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, pepper and Worcestershire sauce.  Then add the ground beef and mix until well combined.  
    2. Shape into 12 small patties.  Spray a large skilled with non stick cooking spray and heat.  Cook burgers for 2 to 3 minutes per side.  Add cheese if desired at the end.
    3. Serve on rolls
    Green puree
    • 2 cups baby spinach
    • 2 cups broccoli florets
    • 1 cup frozen petite peas or sweet peas
    1. Place broccoli in a steamer.  Steam for 10 minutes adding peas during the last 2 minutes of cooking.
    2. Meanwhile, place spinach in food processor and process until finely chopped, scraping sides as necessary.  When broccoli and peas are done/tender, add to the spinach and process until smooth adding a tablespoon or 2 of water if necessary.  (I didn't find it necessary the broccoli and peas seemed to contain enough moisture from steaming.)  
    3. Use or freeze in 1/4 cup portions for future use.

    Friday, November 19, 2010

    Scandinavian beans

    This was the recipe I picked from fix it or forget it. I forgot to soak my beans last night, so I didn't exactly follow the directions.  Plus I didn't really want my beans all the way soft going into the slow cooker anyway.  I'll add my notes to the original recipe.  They turned out perfect.  The beans were pretty good.  Much like a baked bean, but a bit tangier from the vinegar.


    • 1 lb dried pinto beans, rinsed and sorted
    • 6 cups water 
    • 12 oz. bacon or 1 ham hock (I bought diced ham and forgot to add it.  Oops.)
    • 1 onion, chopped (cheated and used dehydrated)
    • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 cup molasses
    • 1 cup ketchup
    • Tabasco to taste 
    • 3/4 cup brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
    • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
    • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    1. Soak beans in water in soup pot for 8 hours.  Bring beans to boil and cook 1 1/2 -2 hour, or until soft. Drain, reserving liquid.
    2. Combine all ingredients in slow cooker, using just enough bean liquid to cover everything.  Cook on low 5-6 hours.  If using ham hock, debone, cut ham into bite-sized pieces and mix into beans.
    What I did
    1. Place dry beans in soup pot - cover with an inch or so of water - boil for about 1 1/2 hour - adding more water after about 45 min-1 hour when they were looking dry.  
    2. When beans were almost done I stirred the rest of the ingredients in the slow cooker and just added an amount of water that looked good.  Then I rinsed and drained the beans and tossed them into the slow cooker.  I cooked on low for 3-4 hours then high for 2 hours or so, then back down to low while I tossed some rice in the rice cooker because they were soft enough already.

    Speedy Mexican Beef skillet dinner

    I like the sound of this one, and I have made chicken chilaques (or something like that) which are similar but with chicken, but something about this recipe just doesn't taste quite right.  Not sure if it is just the brand of enchilada sauce I used today, or just the mix of enchilada sauce with cream of mushroom soup.  I really like the idea of a skillet beef enchilada.  Maybe something with enchilada sauce and sour cream instead of cream of mushroom.  There is just something about this one I'm not fond of.  My pictures were horrible too.  They all turned out looking orange even after I got out a white light to shine on them.  Oh well.  Maybe it's a good reminder to make sure I read this and try it with sour cream next time.  It is super quick and easy even though I was out of pre-cooked beef.  So it may be worth trying to alter to make it tastier.
    Tavio's comment - I hate this one because it has a bad aftertaste so you have to keep shoveling in the food so you never get to the aftertaste.  Made me laugh.  :)


    • 1 lb lean ground beef
    • 1 small onion, chopped (I cheated and used dehydrated onions this day.)
    • 1 garlic clove, minced
    • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
    • 1 4.5 oz can chopped green chiles
    • 1 10 oz. can Enchilada sauce
    • 2 cups tortilla chips, broken slightly
    • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I didn't measure)
    • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro if desired (was in a hurry, I didn't use)
    1. In a large skillet, cook ground beef, onion and garlic until beef is thoroughly cooked, stirring frequently. Drain.
    2. Stir in soup, chiles, enchilada sauce and chips.  Reduce heat to medium; cook and stir 3 to 4 minutes or until thoroughly heated and bubbly.
    3. Sprinkle with cheese.  Cover; cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes or until cheese is melted.  sprinkle with cheese.

    simple spanish rice

    I went looking for a red spanish rice recipe to use rather than some box mix and this is what I chose to try mostly because it was super easy, but also because it was well rated over at allrecipes.  It was surprisingly good.  I really expected it to taste a lot more like rice with salsa but something about adding the chicken broth makes it work and taste good.  I did c ut the oil in half and change it to butter because I really like onions sauteed in butter, but that is all I changed.  (sorry, not the best picture)


    • 1 Tablespoon butter
    • 2-3 Tablespoons chopped onion
    • 1 1/2 cups uncooked white rice
    • 2 cups chicken broth
    • 1 cup chunky salsa (I used a mix of Pace and store brand mild)
    1. Heat butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat. (I actually used a saucepan.)  Stir in onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add rice and stir until coated with butter.  
    2. Stir in chicken broth and salsa.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes, until liquid has been absorbed.

    Chicken with oregano-peach sauce

    This was a pretty quick and easy chicken to prepare.  The recipe comes from a 2009 Betty crocker magazine that I have.  My only editing was to substitute red wine vinegar for raspberry vinegar, and change up the garlic spices a bit. While I really would have liked to try the raspberry vinegar, I didn't have any, and I didn't buy any, so I used what I had.  It was still plenty tasty.  Loved the peach/vinegar dip.  I was lazy again and didn't want to go out and wait for charcoal to heat up so I pan fried this instead of grilled.  Would have been better grilled I'm sure, but it was still good pan fried.


    • 1/2 cup peach preserves (I used some homemade that had a bit of cinnamon in it.)
    • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
    • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh oregano (I used 1 teaspoon dried)
    • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/4 lb.  I had 3 that were a bit more than 1.25 lb.  I cut them all in half.)
    • garlic herb blend 
    • salt and pepper
    1. Heat gas or charcoal grill.  In a small saucepan, heat preserves and vinegar to boiling, stirring constantly, until preserves are melted.  Spoon about 1/4 cup mixture into a small bowl for brushing on chicken.  Stir oregano into remaining mixture and reserve to serve with chicken.
    2. Sprinkle chicken with garlic seasoning, salt and pepper; place on grill (or pan fry if lazy like me.)  Cover and cook 15 to 20 minutes over medium heat, turning once and brushing with preserves mixture during last 10 minutes of grilling.  Done when juices run clear or 165 on thermometer. 
    3. Serve with reserved preserves.

    mozzarella zucchini

    I saw this on Jami cooks it up a while back and have wanted to try it, but the last 2 times we've had zucchini it has been as zuchinni pancakes because those are way good.  Today I decided to it finally.  They were good - of course, how can that much mozzarella be bad, but I still prefer the zuchinni pancakes - they are just amazingly good.  These however are  nice and simple.  I felt like the mozzarella went with the Italian theme of the Italian Sausage mashed potato pie I made these to go with.


    • zucchinni (I used 3 medium small ones)
    • garlic herb blend (she used a specific brand I don't know.  I used McCormick which is my favorite for not so spicy - I also have Mrs. Dash but it is a bit more spicy.)
    • shredded mozzarella (enough to nicely cover the top of the zucchini)
    1. Preheat oven to 350.  Slice zucchini into 1/2 inch rings and place on a large cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with garlic seasoning.
    2. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until crisp tender (don't overdo this.  I left mine in a bit longer than 10 thinking the were too crisp, but then at the end I thought they were a bit overdone.  Remember they will cook a bit more after you put the mozzarella on top, so stop at crisp tender.)
    3. Remove from oven.  Turn oven to Broil.  Sprinkle mozzarella on top of the zucchini and return to oven.  Broil for 3-5 minutes or until nicely browned and bubbly on top.  I just watched mine after about 2 minutes because I didn't want them to burn.

    Italian sausage mashed potato pie

    This was not one of my favorite things to make.  I think I've made it before and thought the same thing, but it looks like it would be good in the picture.  (not my picture - one problem is I can't ever get it out of the pan looking like anything but a mess. I also wasn't a fan of the flavor of the sausage with the plain pizza sauce.  I did use our chicken sausage, but it has been good in other things.  I just think I don't like the combination of flavors on this one.  Maybe making it with hamburger instead of sausage, or a homemade sauce rather than bottled, but more than anything, this is to remind me not to be swayed by the picture and make this again without some changes. (yet another sad picture.  I really ought to get my camera fixed.)


    • 1 pouch (from 7.2 oz. box) roasted garlic mashed potatoes
    • 3/4 cup milk
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 2 eggs, beaten
    • 1 lb milk Italian sausage
    • 1 medium onion, chopped 1/2 cup
    • 1 cup tomato pasta sauce (I used a marinara)
    • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
    • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (I didn't measure)
    1. Heat oven to 375.  Spray a 9 inch glass pie plate with cooking spray.  Cook 1 pouch potatoes as directed on box - except use 3/4 cup milk and 1/2 cup water - omit margarine.  After 5 minute stand time, stir in eggs.  Spread cooked potatoes in bottom and up sides of pie plate, forming a crust.
    2. Meanwhile, cook sausage and onion in a skillet until no longer pink;  drain.  Stir in pasta sauce and Italian seasoning.  Reduce heat to low; cook about 2 minutes stirring occasionally, until hot.  Pour into potato-lined pie plate.
    3. Bake about 25 minutes or until crust edges just begin to turn golden brown.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Bake about 5 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

    Thursday, November 18, 2010

    Chili grilled halibut with black bean salsa

    I'm betting behind yet again, so I'm typing this up with not much intro.  This is the first time I've tried halibut, and it was pretty much like other white fish.  I thought it was smellier than a lot of white fish, and I was sad that even in the cheater frozen packs I had to skin it which added to my cooking time.  But it was OK tasting for a fish.
    I liked the recipe.  It came from an old Pillsbury magazine from sept. 2000, but I changed the spices I put on the fish to make it a bit less spicy.  It was great the way I made it.  (at least I liked it. My anti-spicy/fish son didn't like it, but that's ok.)  I particularly liked the black bean salsa that went with it.  I liked the little sweetness the brown sugar added. (for some reason this is the only sad picture I have.)


    • 1 teaspoon chili powder
    • 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
    • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
    • 1/8 teaspoon chipotle powder (worried about the added smoky flavor of this substitution but I liked it.)
    • 4 (6 oz.) halibut steaks (3/4 to 1 inch thick (I used fillets)
    • 1 Tablespoon lime juice
    Salsa Ingredients
    • 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained (wasn't a fan of the safeway brand I opened - majority of the beans were split.)
    • 2/3 cup salsa
    • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
    1. In a small bowl, combine chili powder, cumin, brown sugar, and chipotle powder.  Mix well.  Place halibut on a large plate.  Brush both sides with lime juice;  sprinkle both sides with chili powder mixture.  Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes.
    2. Meanwhile, heat grill. (I was lazy and made mine in the oven on broil)  In medium bowl, combine all salsa ingredients; mix well.  Set aside.
    3. Oil grill rack and grill over medium heat or 4-6 inches from medium coals (or broil 4-6 inches from heat.)  for 10-14 minutes turning once or until fish flakes easily with fork.  

    Menu 11/18/2010

    I think I'm only taking my menu through Tuesday next week.  I'm not ready to plan my whole Thanksgiving today, but I still need to do my grocery shopping for basic things, so I'm going to get my menu done through Tuesday and call it good.  I'll get the rest of the week and Thanksgiving done early next week.

    Banana bread pudding (SC R p. 94)
    Grandma Betty's Cornflake & cheese pudding (SC R p. 97)
    Strawberry-vanilla breakfast cookies (SC R p. 102)
    Lemon Ricotta pancakes

    Speedy Mexican skillet (PB 9/01 p. 19)
    Scandinavian beans (FX f p. 206)
    Quesadilla pie (PB 9/07 p. 31)
    Treasure stuffed shells (SC r p. 169) but add some flavor to the tomato sauce
    Sneaky sliders (SC R p. 141)

    Sunday, November 14, 2010

    Beef Enchiladas

    Brandon picked these the other day.  They were the best Enchiladas!  And they didn't use a canned enchilada sauce - I think that is why they were sooo good.  YUM!  Definitely a 5 star.  I also loved that I had left overs for days.  I never mind 5 star left overs.

    • 6 Garlic cloves minced
    • 2 Tbsp. Chili Powder
    • 4 tsp. Coriander
    • 4 tsp. Cumin
    • 2 tsp. Sugar
    • Salt

    Mix together

    • 2.5 lbs. Chuck steak cut into blades
    • 1 Tbsp. oil

    Cook meat in oil 3 mins per side
    Remove meat

    • 3 Cups chopped onions

    Add onions and brown for 5 mins
    Add chili mix and cook for one min.

    •  29 oz. tomato sauce and 
    • 1 cup water bring to a boil

    add meat and cook for 1.5 hours on simmer.
    Remove meat and shred
    Add to meat,

    • 2/3 cup of chopped cilantro and 
    • 1/4 cup chopped pickled JalapeƱos and (we used this amount in 1/2 if the recipe.  I'd put it in both halves next time and use 1/2 cup.) 
    • 1-2 cups of shredded jack or cheddar cheese

    Take 1/3 cup of meat mixture into a tortilla.  White for Brandon, Corn for Kimberly.  (Don't let him fool you he didn't buy any corn - the recipe called for it though.)
    Roll tightly and place on top of the sauce.
    Add 1-2 cup of cheese on top
    cook at 350 degrees F. for 25 mins.


    Well, yesterday I tried my hand at some focaccia bread, today it is bolillos.  I just used a bunch of store bought ones in breakfast this morning, and now Brandon wants some for lunch.  I'm actually staying home from church today since I haven't been able to get rid of this silly fever I've had for days.  So, I figure why not babysit some bread.  The recipe for this bread looks very similar to the focaccia I made yesterday.  This recipe I found on food.com. I just made the recipe easier to follow - not so many steps. I saw the same recipe at another site, but liked that this site had ratings to read.
    These turned out well.  They tasted just like a bolillo from the store except the bottom crust was super crispy, but I liked that.  Yum.


    • 1 package (scant Tablespoon) instant yeast
    • 1 1/3 cups water
    • 1 Tablespoon honey
    • 1 Tablespoon lard or vegetable shortening, melted and cooled (I just barely melt mine so it isn't too hot to add 30 seconds in the microwave or so.  Today I actually spent a while looking for my dough hook, and it cooled too much and was solid again.)
    • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 3 1/4 - 4 cups flour (I started with 3 1/4 cups and added a Tablespoon or 2)
    • 1/4 cup cold water
    • 1 teaspoon corn starch
    1. Place yeast, water, honey, flour (start with 3 1/4 cups) salt and shortening in mixer with dough hook attached.  Mix on low-medium low speed for 8-10 minutes until smooth and elastic - adding flour 1 Tablespoon at a time if dough it too sticky.
    2. Cover and let rise until double (about 1 hour.)
    3. Divide into 10 balls (mine were close to 3 oz. each.)  Roll each ball into an oval about 5 inches long - tapering at the end if desired.
    4. Place on a greased cookie sheet and let rise until doubled. (recipe said 25 min - my house was pretty cool and it took more like 45.
    5. Meanwhile, (type up your recipe on your blog - just kidding, that is what I'm doing, but I'm headed to follow the rest of the steps right now.  :)  Preheat oven to 375.  Mix cornstarch and cold water in a small saucepan.  Heat until boiling.  Boil until thickened and clear (this is super quick.)
    6. Brush rolls with cornstarch mixture.  Slash rolls down the center 1/2 inch from each end and about 1/2 inch deep.
    7. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden and sounding hollow when tapped.

    Candy corn pizza, quick pizza crust

    Here is another item that I forgot to post, but as I'm adding pictures (soooo far behind I know.)  I found this picture.  I wanted to make this "pizza" as a side to go with my dinner in a pumpkin.  It was simple pizza.  I had made the crust to be eaten on Oct. 30.  We had trunk or treat, and a million things to do, so I pulled out an old recipe I had for a quick pizza crust from a friend of mine back in college.  I made the crust and then we ended up not having time to make the pizza before the trunk or treat so I refrigerated the dough and made it as a side to our Halloween meal.  It was tasty.  I don't suggest refrigerating the dough, it grew bigger than the container and then got dry spots.  But it was still workable.  The dough is great in a pickle though if you need a good pizza crust quick.  I didn't follow the regular directions on the dough - I cooked it how I always cook pizza which is with the oven as hot as it will go on a pizza stone for 8 minutes (giver or take 2 minutes.)  I'm just writing out the recipe for the dough.  
    To make candy corn pizza with this crust (or any other crust), just add mozzarella in the middle and cheddar on the outside.  You could also do a gouda in the middle for yellow.  That would be fun, but we didn't have any.  We did try one with feta for the white and that was good too.  Heat until cheese is melted.

    • 1 cup warm water
    • 1 Tablespoon yeast
    • 1/2 Tablespoon sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 1/2 Tablespoon oil
    • 2 cups flour
    1. Dissolve yeast and sugar in water.  Add salt, oil and flour.  Mix, knead for a few minutes until smooth.  
    2. Spread on a greased pan.  Let rise 5-10 minutes.  Add toppings.  Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes. (When I cooked this as candy corn pizza I baked it like I do all pizza crust  now - for 6- 8 min at 550 directly on my pizza stone.)
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    overnight blueberry pecan French toast

    I finally made this blueberry pecan french toast that I have wanted to try.  I saw it on My kitchen cafe a while back.  I like an overnight french toast because I can do the prep the night before and toss it in the oven that day.  It can cook while I get ready for the day.  It works out well for a good breakfast even on a busy morning.  I did some of the "that morning" steps the night before.  I'll write it up like I made it because I really liked it that way.  So simple this morning.
    I did not use a Baguette.  I used 6 bolillos minus the ends.  I liked that because it made smaller portions.  Very easy to serve differing amounts to different children.  I do think it could have used a little more milk mixture using that many bolillos, but it was still delicious.  Next time if I use 6 bolillos, I'd probably add 1 more egg and a 3 - 4 Tablespoons more milk.  Another note to self - my kiddos didn't eat all of the pecans -crazy kids, they were delicious toasted in butter and covered in caramel sauce.  Anyway, when making it again, I'll probably only put pecans on 1/2 of it.  Why waste nuts the kids are going to leave on their plate??


    • 1 French bread baguette (or 5-6 bolillos)
    • 6 eggs 
    • 1 cup milk (I used skim)
    • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup splenda
    • 1 cup pecans, chopped
    • 2 cups blueberries (I used frozen, and liked that.)
    • 1 teaspoon butter
    • 4 Tablespoons butter
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar
    1. Spray a 9X13 pan with cooking spray.  Cut 1 1/2 inch slices from the baguette and arrange in one layer in the dish (about 6-8 slices.)  (Using the bolillos, I cut off the ends, then cut each bolillo in 1/3.  Made 18 little slices.)  
    2. Whisk together eggs, milk, nutmeg, vanilla, 1/4 cup brown sugar and splenda in a large bowl and pour evenly over the bread.  
    3. Toast pecans in 1 teaspoon of butter in a skillet until fragrant.  
    4. Sprinkle pecans and blueberries (I sprinkled them frozen, they defrosted in the fridge overnight.)  over the bread.  
    5. Cover and Refrigerate mixture until all liquid is absorbed by the bread.  At least 8 hours and up to 1 day.  I also tossed the 4 Tablespoons butter and 1/4 cup brown sugar in a saucepan and sat it on my stove to be ready for the morning.  It let the butter soften and I didn't need to cut it in pieces.)
    6. The next morning:   Preheat oven to 350.    Remove dish from the fridge.  Turn on oven and heat butter and brown sugar until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved.  Drizzle butter mixture over bread and and bake for 30-40 minutes or until liquid from blueberries is bubbling.  (It took all 40 minutes for me, but my oven wasn't completely pre-heated when I tossed it in -I was too quick by preparing everything the night before.  :)  Not a problem in my book.

    Saturday, November 13, 2010

    Sour cream and Onion burgers

    I found this recipe in an old Betty Crocker magazine (actually this one really wasn't all that old, just last year.)  The flavor was wonderful.  definite 5 star burger.  It was sooo good with the focaccia bread I made.  I loved the combination of the sour cream and onion of the burger with the Parmesan and rosemary of the bread.  YUM!
    However, these burgers did have one drawback - their texture.  Being made with only sour cream and onion soup (no egg) I found them to fall apart very easily.  That may be because I used fat free sour cream, not sure if it would make a difference.  Seems to me that sour cream just isn't as good of a binder as an egg is.  Not sure how to fix the problem without changing the flavor.  Maybe cut the sour cream in the burger in 1/2, add an egg, and then add additional sour cream as topping.  Probably my best suggestion.  Even with the texture issue, they are a tasty burger, they were just a bit difficult to flip, and some fell apart.  If making them as written, I suggest giving yourself plenty of room between burgers to get in with a spatula and flip them very gently.  Any angled fanagaling will result in messed up patties.)


    • 2 lbs lean ground beef (we used sirloin this evening and had only 1.7 lbs.)
    • 1 package onion soup mix
    • 1 cup sour cream (I shorted this a bit because I was shy on the meat.
    • 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs (also shorted this a bit to adjust for the meat.)
    • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
    • 1 focaccia bread  (I cut mine in 9ths)
    • leaf lettuce
    • other toppings as desired we had out sour cream, mayo, ketchup, sweet or dill relish, and mustard.)
    1. Heat gas or charcoal grill.  (I was lazy and didn't feel like heating the grill so I just made them in a skillet on the stove.  They would be even better grilled.)  In a large bowl, mix all ingredients except bread and lettuce.  Shape into desired number of patties (I made 7 or 8 - but I vary the sizes of my patties by which kid is eating it.  :)
    2. Place patties on the grill over medium heat.  Cover grill;  cook 10-15 minutes turning once, until meat thermometer inserted in center of the patties reads 160.  Serve with lettuce on focaccia.


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