Sunday, January 30, 2011

Chicken Parmesan Rollatini

This recipe comes from my food Network magazine.  It was a cute new spin on a Parmesan chicken because you used cutlets (I just pounded out some chicken breasts and cut the larger ones in half)  I'm pretty sure I made more bread crumb/parmesan mixture, but I honestly can't remember exactly what I did at this point in time.  I do know that it was good, but not great.  The sauce was ok, but not spectacular.  I wanted a bit more flavor in my sauce and I think I did add some extra thyme or Italian seasoning after tasting the sauce, but not a lot.  However, I do have to say that this was the first time I had used fire-roasted tomatoes.  Those were good, and I liked the flavor they added, I just want my Chicken Parmesan to have more thyme or rosemary, or oregano, not just basil.
  I also served this with polenta which we had never had.  No-one at our house was super impressed with polenta either.  :(
If making this again, I would serve it with a different red sauce - maybe still use the fire roasted tomatoes, but also add some other Italian seasonings.
The recipe can be found here.  I'm not going to re-type it because I can't remember what I did different anyway.

Oh, also, just reading through the recipe - I didn't use a cast-iron skillet.  I just put these in a 9 X 13 pan, and I didn't add fresh parsley, I sprinkled the chicken with dried oregano.

German chocolate bars

So, I love pretty much anything chocolate, and if you throw in coconut, pecans and caramel all the better, so this really caught my eye when I saw it in my Simple and Delicious magazine.  When I read that it also had crushed pretzels I was even more curious to try it.  I finally got the chance today because I was bringing treats to our choir potluck.  I made lemon bars (used that recipe just all lemon) which I know are good, and tried a new one. While they were good, they were over the top sweet for me.  I find that a lot when I use butterscotch chips though.  Somehow I manage to always forget that about butterscotch chips and try it again.  I like them in cookies, but I've made fudge with them, and not cared for it.  This recipe was super sweet, but the thing that threw it over the edge for me was the butterscotch chips.  It may be a lot better without it.  However, I think I'd rather just make Hello Dolly's (speaking of  which I'm pretty sure I don't have a recipe for those posted on the blog.
For the recipe go here.  I didn't change anything except for adding a couple of Tablespoons of coconut just because that was all that was left in the bag.  Nothing else different.
Oops, I apparently didn't take any pictures of this either.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Lemon rosemary meatballs

Here's another from my eating well magazine.  The original is here.  I changed things up a bit -primarily using beef rather than turkey, so I used beef broth stock than chicken.  I also adjusted a bit for portions.
I really liked this.  It looked a lot like Swedish meatballs, but the flavor was very different.  I loved the combination of lemon and rosemary.  Very tasty.  I'd definitely make it again.


  • 1 medium onion, cut into chunks (I only had about 1/3 of a larger onion
  • 2 large cloves garlic, 
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest (2 lemons for me)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary or 1 1/4 teaspoons dried, divided
  • 1.25 pounds 93%-lean ground beef
  • 3/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs, I used whole-wheat 
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (I actually had cooking sherry or substitute more beef stock)
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 8-10 oz. pasta 

  1.  The first thing I did was chop up my bread in my food processor.  Their tip said don't cut the crusts (I didn't) and not to toast it, so I didn't.)  Dump crumbs in a medium bowl and place onion, garlic and lemon zest in the food processor. Add 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary (or 1 teaspoon dried) and pulse just until the mixture is finely and evenly chopped (but not mushy). (I pulsed, let mine run for a minute, and pulsed a bit more to get it nicely chopped and uniform.)
  2. Add  the mixture to the bowl with breadcrumbs and  mix in turkey, Parmesan, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper until combined. Shape into about 16 meatballs (about 1 1/2 inches in diameter). Place flour in a shallow dish and roll the meatballs in it to lightly coat. (Reserve the remaining flour.)
  3. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, add meatballs and cook, turning once, until brown, 3 to 5 minutes total. Transfer to a plate.
  4. Add wine (or 1/2 cup stock) to the pan, increase heat to medium-high and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until almost evaporated, 1 to 3 minutes. Add the can of broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and return the meatballs to the pan along with the remaining 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary (or 1/4 teaspoon dried). Cover and cook until the meatballs are cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the meatballs to a serving bowl.
  5. Bring the sauce to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until reduced to 1.5 cups or so, 4 to 8 minutes. Whisk lemon juice and 1 tablespoon +1 teaspoon of the reserved flour in a small bowl (discard any remaining flour); whisking constantly, add the flour mixture to sauce in the pan. Simmer, whisking, until slightly thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve. Serve the sauce over the meatballs.  (I actually strained mine before adding the flour hoping not to have to do it after, but my flour lumped, so definitely do some heavy duty whisking so it doesn't lump (or strain it only after, or strain it twice.)
  6. Serve meatballs over pasta, drizzle with sauce.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Quick beef and Barley soup

Here is another one from Eating well.  This one from a few days ago.  This actually wasn't my favorite, so I'm only including a link.  I did double the recipe, but that is about it -didn't have fresh thyme and used dried, but nothing massive - oh, I did use only beef stock, not broth and water.  Still, it was not what I wanted my vegetable beef soup to taste like, and I love vegetable beef soup, so I was a bit disappointed.  It didn't taste bad or anything, it was just only OK, and really not exactly what I was hoping.  :(

broccoli with creamy Parmesan sauce

Here's the final recipe for today's food.  It was our veggie.  I liked it a lot.    DH did not drizzle it over the broccoli, he just poured it all together.  Not nearly as pretty of a picture as on the eating well website or in my magazine.  We also used frozen broccoli florets making it super easy - no peeling the stalks and chopping the fancy way the original said to.
I liked this recipe as well.  I would say if you like Parmesan, and you like cheddar broccoli, then you would like this.  It is just a  variation on a cheddar covered broccoli.
Here is the simplified version of the recipe.


  • 1 pound frozen broccoli florets
  • 1 Tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup nonfat milk, divided
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • pinch ground white pepper
  • pinch ground nutmeg (optional -I didn't taste it, so I think DH didn't use it.)
  1. Steam the broccoli in a steamer for 5-7 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, whick flour and 1/4 cup milk in a small bowl until smooth.  Heat remaining 3/4 cup milk in a saucepan over medium-low heat until steaming.  Whisk in the flour mixture.  cook, whisking until thickened, 2 to 4 minutes.  Remove from heat; add cheese, salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Drizzle over broccoli.  (or just pour it all together like we did.)

Crispy baked drumsticks with honey-mustard sauce

Here is my second recipe from my eating well magazine.  I changed this one around a bit more.  If you want to see the original, check it out at the link.  This is how we made it.
I liked everything about this chicken.  It was perfectly crispy on the outside, nice and juicy on the inside.  The crust tasted great, and even though I'm not the biggest fan of mustard, the dipping sauce was good.  Definitely another keeper.  OH, and my pickier than picky 2 year old who has the flu and hasn't eaten well in days ate a whole drumstick.  Score!


  • 1 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs (we had just under the 1/3 before our bag ran out.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tablespoons oil (we use a healthy blend type)
  • 2 eggs
  • 12 chicken drumsticks, skins removed
Sauce ingredients
  • 1/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt (we used greek-style)
  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • pepper to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 475°F. Coat a wire rack with cooking spray and set it on a large rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Mix breadcrumbs, paprika, onion powder and salt in a shallow dish. Drizzle with oil and mash with a fork until the oil is thoroughly incorporated. Lightly beat eggs with a fork in another shallow dish. (This was thick so DH added 1 teaspoon water.)  Dip the drumsticks into the egg, then press into the breading mixture until evenly coated on both sides. (Discard any remaining mixture and/or egg.) Place the chicken on the prepared rack.
  3. Bake the chicken until golden and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a drumstick without touching bone registers 165°F, 25 to 30 minutes.
  4. To prepare sauce: Combine yogurt, mustard, honey and pepper in a small bowl. Serve the sauce with the drumsticks.

Lemon cranberry muffins

So I got yet another new cooking magazine to try this month.  I broke it in today by trying 3 different recipes..... And we have a winner!!  All 3 recipes were very good.  Not to mention the fact that the magazine is called Eating well and supports healthy eating without being over the top.  Totally my kind of magazine.  Plus, did I mention the food we had today was all really good?  So, the first thing I tried this morning was Lemon Cranberry muffins.  Usually I don't have time to cook a nice breakfast on a Sunday morning because I'm busily getting everyone ready for church, but today I had 2 staying home with the flu, which meant I didn't have to get myself or 2 boys ready.  So, of course I took advantage and made breakfast.  I originally chose this because I still have cranberries in my fridge I'm hoping to use before they go totally bad, and I like lemon things at breakfast. - Lemon ricotta pancakes are one of my favorites.  So, this was a perfect fit.
These muffins turned out so nice.  I was a bit worried when they came out of the oven because they looked a bit flat, but they were perfectly airy, with a bit of crispness from the cornmeal, and the flavor was wonderful.  Just sweet enough with the sugar, but still had a lovely cranberry and lemon tang.  The texture was so good Brandon said "You used the muffin method" (Alton Brown speak) on these?"  I asked why - he told me because the air holes were uneven..... not sure on the rest.  I was just proud he noticed and liked the texture enough to comment on it.  I also was very surprised they didn't really taste wheaty.  I expected using wheat flour to have some wheat flavor, but the lemon took that away.  I could vaguely make out the cornmeal flavor, but that is it.
I would venture to guess that if you make these in a regular sized muffin pan they would even come out a bit prettier.  (My pan is a bit small.  I couldn't find my regular sized pan, and I didn't have time to look - I still did have to get 2 boys and DH out the door to church on time.)  I would also like to have put the lemon rind on the top like the recipe said, but I accidentally threw all 3 teaspoons in at once because I didn't see the "divided" word on the recipe list because it came after something that said "see lemon lessons opposite - which I did go and read. )  Anyway, I would totally try that next time.   I did not use 2 Tablespoons sugar on top. I just sprinkled some, but it wasn't that much.  Those were my only changes.  I just checked out the website and found the recipe here.  I'm posting it with my notes added.


  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided (I didn't use the full 2 Tablespoons)
  • 3/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest, divided (this took 2 lemons for me)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups white whole-wheat flour (I used home ground - I have white wheat)
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal, (I used home ground)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen (thawed), coarsely chopped (toss in food processor)

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat 12 (1/2-cup) muffin cups with cooking spray or line with paper liners.
  2. Whisk 1/2 cup sugar, yogurt, oil, egg, 2 teaspoons lemon zest (I accidentally added all of it), lemon juice and vanilla in a medium bowl.
  3. Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add the yogurt mixture and fold until almost blended. Gently fold in cranberries. Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Combine the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and remaining l teaspoon lemon zest in a small bowl. (I forgot this part - still good, but I would try it in the future.- maybe only using 1 Tablespoon sugar because 2 seemed like a lot.)  Sprinkle evenly over the tops of the muffins.
  4. Bake the muffins until golden brown and they spring back lightly to the touch, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sweet and Sour Onion Marmalade (Pizza Sauce)

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 large yellow onions, sliced wafer thin
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced wafer thin
Cook onions over medium heat until caramelized, about 20 to 25 mins.
  • 3/4 cup sugar
Add sugar, stir until onions are coated and sugar melts / begins to bubble, about 3 mins.
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt.
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
Move onions to sides of pan, pour vinegar into the center and reduce.  
Let cool completely before storing in airtight container.

This was a great sauce for pizza, with sausage and mozzarella cheese.

Breakfast Bake Two

This is a brandon made recipe.  The greek orange sausage was awesome (not sure if he typed the recipe in or not.  Th breakfast bake was only OK.

  • 1 lb. Greek Orange Sausage
  • 1/3 cup chopped green or red bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped onions
  • 2 1/2 cups frozen loose-pack hash browns
  • 1 package (8 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 6 eggs
Heat oven to 400F
Pan fry sausage until not longer pink.  Mix cooked sausage, frozen hash browns, peppers, onions and cheese.  Place in 9x13x2 inch pan.  Mix the rest of the ingredients and pour over sausage mixture.  Bake for 35 to 40 mins.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

ham and corn slow cooker casserole

Although this recipe says it is a slow cooker casserole, it really is a chowder.
So, I have made my menu for the week, and for some strange reason I included no slow cooker meals on the menu.  That really doesn't work for me because Tuesdays are rather busy.  This one in particular because Basketball Practice for DS2 was at 6 rather than 7, and DS1 still had wrestling at 7.  Plus I now have piano lessons again on Tuesday from 3:30-5.  So, if I want to have dinner on the table for people having to leave the house, slow cooker it has to be.  I still have no idea why I planned no slow cooker.  I know my schedule - even without basketball being earlier, I don't have a lot of time for making dinner on longer piano lesson days.  So yesterday I took DS4 to the library for toddler time and grabbed a couple of slow cooker books to look through.  I picked a recipe and wanted to stop by the grocery store on the way back to pick up DS3 from preschool, but somehow had no wallet -such a nice day, I know.  :) Finally got all of the ingredients (after going home for wallet, to 1 store who moved their diced ham, but I had no time to search -bought 1/2 of my ingredients before I had to go back to pre-school to pick up my child and then to another grocery store for the rest of the ingredients.)  After all of this running around, and getting my meal ready for the slow cooker, my piano lessons didn't even show up.
Luckily this soup was so tasty, It made the end of the day nice.  Since the piano students didn't come, I got to make some 30 minute rolls to go with our soup, and that too was nice.  This recipe is from fix it and forget it recipes for entertaining.  I did make some changes because it seemed to have way too much ham.  Plus it called for an 8 oz can of cream corn.  I had a regular size can (15 oz or thereabouts.  Not sure, I just know it was about twice as big.)  I also cut out 1/2 of the butter.  Didn't seem to lose any flavor because it was super tasty.  Yum!


  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 small green pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 4 cups milk (I used 1 cup 2% and 3 fat free)
  • 1 can (15 or 16 oz?) cream-style corn
  • 3 small-medium potatoes, diced (about 2-2 1/2 cups) - the recipe called for slightly cooked?  I tossed these in the pan after the other mix, but of course they stuck, so I didn't leave them long.  I'd just go with raw next time - or slightly saute them in some butter before the onions
  • 1 12 oz. package diced ham
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  1. In a large skillet, Saute onion and green pepper in butter.  (While this sauteed, I measured my flour, added the spices to the top of the cup, and measured out my milk to help move the process along.  I think you could probably sub out some frozen obrein potatoes for the pepper, onion and diced potatoes, but not sure it would be quite as tasty - I guess you could saute it all in butter, not just the onions and peppers.  It was just a thought I had while cooking on how to make it speedier.)
  2. Stir in flour and seasonings.  Gradually add milk and cook until thickened.  Pour into slow cooker.  
  3. Stir remaining ingredients into the slow cooker.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.  (I cooked mine on low for 2, then high for 3-3.5 because that is when I wanted to eat - basically you want to get the potatoes cooked.  I also stirred mine a couple of times because the mix was sticking to the sides -I'm thinking the cheese?  That is not normal for a crock pot meal, but I would suggest it with this.)

Tilapia with green beans amandine

This was some of the best fish I have ever made.  Loved this recipe.  I loved the panko coating - while it didn't have a ton of flavor, it was nice and crisp.  The fish was also nice and tender.  We didn't manage to get the green beans cooked quite long enough.  They had a fine flavor, but were super crisp.  Not the recipes fault though.  :)
The recipe comes from my simple and delicious magazine.  I did add to the ingredients a bit here and there to make 5-6 servings rather than the original 4.


  • 5 tilapia fillets
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg (I used an extra large - you may need 2 for this amount if using just large)
  • 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teasppon dried thyme
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 Tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) chicken broth (we used stock)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3/4 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  1. Sprinkle fillets with salt.  (I forgot to sprinkle the first fillet.  I added my salt to my egg after that.)  In a shallow bowl or plate, whisk the egg.  In another shallow bowl or plat, combine the bread crumbs, parsley and thyme.  Dip fillets in egg, then coat with crumb mixture.  (I found that I had to press them into the crumbs to get them to stick well.)
  2. In a large skillet, cook fillets in butter and 1 Tablespoon oil over medium heat for 5-6 minutes on each side or until golden brown and fish flakes easily with a fork. (I had my heat a bit high at the beginning and ended up covering these to help them cook through without burning on the second side when my oil was pretty much out.)  Remove and keep warm.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the cornstarch, broth, garlic and lemon juice until blended; set aside.
  4. In another skillet, saute beans in oil until crisp-tender.  Stir cornstarch mixture and pour over beans.  Bring to a boil;  cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until slightly thickened.  Sprinkle with almonds.  (we actually added our almonds to our beans when sauteeing so that they would get toasted.)

Asian turkey lettuce wraps

Here is the other lettuce wrap we made a couple of weeks ago.  It is from my taste of home magazine.  I did cut the ginger in half and was glad I did.   I also didn't chop my veggies as small as the original recipe said, but it is because I didn't really thaw them.  That had no bearing on how much I liked these.  These were only OK as compared to other lettuce wraps, but then again, we like lettuce wraps.  They still get a 4 star.  There were no left overs.  However, the other wraps I have made have been better.
I forgot to take a picture of these (and the other lettuce wraps I just made - Oops.)


  • 1 1/2 lbs. lean ground turkey (could sub beef - I probably would have, but DH chose this and bought the groceries, so ground turkey it was.)
  • 1 16 oz. package frozen stir-fry veggies, thawed
  • 1/3 cup teriyaki sauce
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 Tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • boston or bibb lettuce leaves
  • In a large non-stick skillet coated with cooking spray, cook and stir turkey over medium high heat until no longer pink.  
  • Coarsely chop mixed veggies; (I tossed them in the food processor) add to the pan.  Stir in the teriyaki sauce, hoisin sauce, peanut butter, ginger, vinegar and oil.  Cook and stir over medium-high heat for 5 minutes.  
  • Add garlic;  cook 1 minute longer.  Remove from heat and stir in onions.  
  • Serve on lettuce leaves.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

cran-orange pork tenderloin

This was a super tasty pork tenderloin that we had last week.  I loved the sauce that went with it.  The recipe came from my taste of home magazine.  I only doubled the spices on the tenderloin from the original because I used a bit larger tenderloin.


  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Cran-Orange Sauce
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon orange juice, divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • dash ground cloves
  • 1 can (11 oz.) mandarin oranges
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  1. In a small bowl, combine the first 4 ingredients;  rub over pork.  Place on a rack in a shallow roasting pan.  Bake uncovered at 425 for 25-28 minutes or until thermometer reads 160 (I only used the thermometer -set the alarm on it.)
  2. Meanwhile, in a small sacuepan, combine the cranberries, 1/4 cup orange juice, ginger and cloves.  Drain oranges, reserving juice; set oranges aside.  Add reserved juice to cranberry mixture.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5 minutes.  
  3. Combine cornstarch and remaining Tablespoon orange juice until smooth.  Stir inot saucepan.  Bring to a boil;  cook and stir for 1 minutes or until thickened (it thickened pretty much immediately for me.)  fold in oranges.  Serve with sliced pork.


This is not the first pastitsio I have made.  This one was different because it had a white sauce.  I liked the flavor, but I found it a bit dry.  I would add another can of tomato sauce next time, and possibly mix the sauce with the noodles.  (maybe 1/2 and 1/2 - I had expected the sauce to kind of sink through the noodles and make the whole casserole saucy, but it really didn't.)  The flavor however was good.  
This is actually the original.  I can't remember exactly what I did.  I think I doubled everything but the meat, but I don't think I put in 6 Tablespoons of butter.  So, I'm just writing the recipe. That is what I get for getting so far behind in my posting.

  • 1 package (7 oz) elbow macaroni
  • 1 lb ground beef or lamb (I used my pre-cooked beef)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (I didn't double this either.)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  1. Cook macaroni according to package directions.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the beef, onion and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain.  Stir in the tomato sauce, 1/2 teaspoon salt, oregano, pepper and cinnamon.  Heat through (I actually simmered mine while the noodles cooked)
  2. Drain macaroni; place half of macaroni in a greased 9 inch square baking pan. (Doubled I used a 10 X 15)  Sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese.  Layer with meat mixture and remaining macaroni.  Set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan, melt butter; stir in flour and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt until smooth.  Gradually add milk.  Bring to a boil;  cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
  4. Remove from heat.  Stir a small amount of the hot mixture into the egg to temper.  Return egg mixture to the pan stirring constantly.  Bring to a gentle boil;  cook and stir for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Stir in remaining cheese.  Pour sauce over macaroni.
  5. Bake uncovered at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown (mine never turned golden and I left it the extra time - wouldn't do that again due to it being a bit dry.)  Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Next time I'd probably mix add an extra can of sauce (3 for a double batch)  then maybe mix the meat with 1/2 of the noodles and mix the white sauce with the other 1/2 of the noodles then top the whole mix with Parmesan.

Monday, January 17, 2011

pre-melted chocolate/ brownies

So I wanted some brownies last night and I was going to use a box and use black beans instead of the oil, but instead I saw a box of "pre-melted" unsweetened chocolate that I had bought over Christmas break thinking I might use it.  I changed my mind because the things I was baking were truffles and I was afraid the change in texture of the chocolate would cause the truffles not to harden appropriately.  Anyway, I ended up with this box of chocolate in my cupboard and saw it when I was looking around thinking of brownies so I pulled it out and it had a brownie recipe on the back so I tried it.
Unfortunately it wasn't my favorite and I wouldn't recommend it unless you want a cakey brownie.  I'm also not a big fan of the pre-melted chocolate.  Sorry Nestles.  It comes in a pouch which you have to knead with your hand and then roll out.  I'd just as soon melt the cube in my microwave.  Probably just as simple and possibly faster as I just have to toss the cube in my microwave and stir after a minute.  This I had to knead until soft and then try to roll out of the pouch.  It was rather messy.
As for the brownie recipe on the back of the box - I followed it other than subbing out 1 cup splenda for sugar.  I really don't think that should have had any effect on the cakey factor.  I still used the full stick of butter, and the eggs, and 2/3 cup of actual sugar.  So, not sure why they were so cakey.  They also seemed done when I tested them at the minimum time, but when I cut into them they were doughy.  I do have to say that the brownies tasted good. It just didn't have the brownie texture I was looking for.  I would have preferred the box.  Still gets a 3 star because it is chocolate and taste good.


  • 1 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 4 packets unsweetened chocolate flavor
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons water 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • toffee bits (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Grease a 9 X 13 pan.
  2. combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl.  Stir sugar, butter, choco bake, eggs, water and vanilla vigorously in a large bowl.  Stir in flour mixture.  Spread into prepared baking pan.
  3. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out slightly sticky.  Cool completely in pan on wire rack.  Cut into bars.

Butter-rum syrup

I made some tender sour cream waffles this morning, and we ran out of syrup, so I went to make some more syrup and I was out of maple extract so I went through my extracts and improvised.  Everyone loved it, so it gets a post.


  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup (I used the reduced calorie one)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon butter extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon rum extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Combine corn syrup, sugar and water in a saucepan.  Heat to a rolling boil.  Add extracts, stir, remove from heat.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Triple Cranberry chicken lettuce wraps

I saw this pictured in my taste of home magazine, and have wanted to try it for quite some time.  The recipe is actually from  I changed it up a lot.  Partly because I didn't have cranberry juice, partly becasue I was too lazy to go into the cold and get the fresh mint and basil from the garden.  I also omitted the chili garlic sauce because I didn't have any, and decreased the ginger because DH isn't the biggest fan.  I loved these.  I loved these.  They were better than the beef lettuce wraps we made last week.


  • 1 cup whole berry cranberry sauce
  • 1/2 cup apple juice (or cranberry)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 Tablespoon minced ginger 
  • 1/2 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon grated lime peel (oops, I only used 1 teaspoon - zest of 1 lime)
  • 2-3 cups cooked chicken (I used 1 container of my precooked chicken -I store them in a 3 cup container, but don't exactly pack it.)
  • 1 cup sweetened dried cranberries
  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1 head bibb lettuce
  • chopped salted peanuts
  1. Combine first 6 ingredients (through garlic)  in a small saucepan;  bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat; stir in lime juice and peel;  set aside.
  2. combine the chicken, dried cranberries, carrot and green onions in a bowl.
  3. To make wraps, place some chicken mix on the lettuce, pour 1 Tablespoon or of cranberry/soy sauce, sprinkle with peanuts.  Serve with additional cranberry/soy sauce for dipping.

Creamy hot chocolate

I wanted something good and toasty to warm me up the other day, and I thought I remembered a recipe for some hot chocolate in my healthy cooking magazine, but I can't find that magazine right now.  So I went searching online.  I actually found the same recipe on allrecipes and on taste of home.  It had more reviews to read on it, so I followed the directions from there, and even some of the suggestions from there to make some hot chocolate.  Brandon really liked it.  He told me I should be impressed that he drank and liked it because he was a chocolate snob.  Sorry, but this isn't the greatest picture.  I forgot to take it until it had been sitting on the stover forever.


  • 1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk (I used fat free)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • dash salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  1. In a large saucepan over medium heat combine sweetened condensed milk, cocoa, salt and vanilla.  Slowly stir in milk and water.  Heat through until desired temperature.

hearty barley bake

This was a strange meal.  Recipe is from Simple and delicious magazine.  I was interested to try it because it mixed some different flavored  I liked that it used barley.  I was excited to try something with our home-made sausage, and the recipe came from someone in cypress TX which is where I live.  So, I tried it.  It wasn't a favorite all around.  Brandon really didn't like it.  Said - Is this my no thank you portion and ate it.  I didn't think it was that bad.  I think Tavio had seconds, but he likes cooked spinach.  I'm not writing out the entire recipe, just the ingredients - I don't recommend combining these.  :)

These were the ingredients

  • mushrooms - 2 cups sliced - mine went bad and I used a can
  • 1 cup thinly sliced carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • garlic
  • pork sausage
  • cooked barley
  • 1 can cream corn
  • 1 pkg. chopped spinach
  • savory
  • thyme
  • marjoram
  • pepper
  • Parmesan cheese

brown rice pilaf

Yet another recipe from my simple and delicious magazine.  Can you tell that is the one I'm flipping through right now adding all that I missed in the past couple of weeks?
I liked this pilaf other than the fact that my brown rice was a bit old, and tasted it.   It kind of ruined the dish.  Would have been nice had the rice been fresher.  It was probably 2 -2.5 star like we had it, but would be 4 star with fresh rice.   I know to use up regular brown rice quickly, but I apparently don't use the instant stuff very regularly at all.


  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion
  • 2 teaspoon butter
  • 1 1/3 cup instant brown rice
  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 1 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup dried apricots, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper.
  1. In a small saucepan, saute green onions in butter until tender.  Add rice and walnuts;  cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until walnuts are toasted.  Add the water, apricots, salt and pepper.  
  2. Bring to boil.  Reduce heat;  cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.  Let stand for 5 minutes.  Fluff with a fork.

Chinese Pork n' noodles

This is just another stir-fry.  The original is from my Simple and Delicious magazine, but I changed things up a good deal.  It was tasty the way we made it, but I like a good stir-fry.


  • 8 oz. uncooked angel hair or spaghetti
  • 5 Tablespoons hoisin sauce (what was left in my bottle)
  • 3 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1.5 lb. pork tenderloin thinly sliced and cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 sweet red pepper, chopped into strips
  • 1.5-2 cups snow peas, halved
  • 1/2 cup sliced onion
  • 2 cups sliced cabbage
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.  Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the hoisin sauce, soy sauce and sesame oil;  set aside
  2. Spray a large non-stick skillet or wok with cooking spray.  Stir fry pork until no longer pink.  Remove and keep warm.  In the same skillet, stir-fry red pepper, peas and onion for 3 minutes (knowing me, I added a little butter for this, and probably did my onions first in the butter, then added the peppers and the peas.  It has been too long to remember exactly though.)  Add cabbage;  stir-fry 2 minutes longer or until vegetables are crisp-tender.
  3. Stir reserved hoisin sauce mixtre and add to skillet.  Return pork to the pan;  heat through.  Drain pasta and add to skillet;  toss to coat.  

Cranberry orange pancakes

This recipe is from my Simple and Delicious magazine.  I have wanted to try them for a while to use some of the cranberries I have had in the fridge since Christmas.  They can't possibly be good much longer.  I loved the flavor of these pancakes.  I do still need to tweek the ingredients a bit though.  These were really thick.  However, to give the original recipe credit, it did call for biscuit mix, and I had to make up my own.  It also called for an extra egg yolk which I left out because I was using extra large eggs.  I also increased the size of the batch to use the entire can of evaporated milk.  Honestly, I think the only thing I really need to do is add a bit more orange juice to thin the batter out.  (and possibly a bit of baking soda.)  OK, partly tweeked -still need to thin out pancake batter a bit, but still yummy.
I loved the syrup.  I won't lie, it was rather time consuming.  It didn't help the we had to squeeze oranges to make the juice, but it sure was good.  I was also lucky to have DH helping me in the kitchen that morning.  He tackled the syrup while I made the pancakes and we managed to get them ready before the big boys had to leave for school.

Syrup Ingredients

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 2/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons maple syrup
Pancake Ingredients
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1.5 Tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 can (approximately 1.5 cups) evaporate milk (I used skim)
  • 1/4 orange juice (possibly more)
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange peel (peel of 1 orange -I had more the second time)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh or frozen cranberries
  1. In a small saucepan, bring cranberries, orange juice, and sugar to a boil.  Reduce heat;  simmer, uncovered for 5 minutes.  Cool slightly.  With a slotted spoon, remove 1/4 cup cranberries;  set aside.  
  2. In a blender, process cranberry mixture until smooth.  Transfer to a small bowl;  stir in maple syrup and reserved cranberries.  Keep warm.
  3. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, salt.)  In another bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. (eggs yolks, milk, orange peel and juice)
  4. Stir wet into dry just until blended.  Beat egg whites to stiff peaks, fold in egg whites and cranberries.  
  5. Drop batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto a greased hot griddle;  Turn when bubbles form on tip.  cook until second side is golden brown.  Serve with syrup.

bbq smothered chops

This recipe is from Good Housekeeping magazine.  I lightened it a good deal (didn't cook my veggies in pork fat, used a leaner chop.) and made it easier and quicker to make (used season salt rather than a mix of salt/pepper and paprika, and had 2 pans going at 1 time.)  It turned out great other than the meat was dry.  I loved the BBQ/sauteed onions on top.  I did think it could have used a bit more flavor in the rice.  Next time I would probably use stock rather than water in the rice.  I'd also only brown the meat for a minute or 2 - not 5-6.  I think that would help with the dryness of the meat.


  • seasoned salt (I didn't measure, just sprinkled it on top of my chops)
  • 6 pork loin chops, trimmed of fat.  
  • 1 large sweet onion (8-10 oz.) thinly sliced
  • 1.5 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 cups water (would change to stock next time.)
  • 3 carrots, thinly sliced at an angle
  • 8-10 oz. green beans, trimmed and cut in half
  • 1 1/2 cup long-grain white rice
  • 2 lemons, ends trimmed, very thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce (I didn't measure, just squeezed a nice amount on top.)

  1. Spray a large frying pan with cooking oil.  Sprinkle chops with seasoned salt.  Cook for 1-2 minutes per side, just until browned.  Transfer to plate.  
  2. Meanwhile, in another skillet, saute onions in butter until browned, set aside.  (I actually cooked my meat in 1 pan and the onions and veggies in another, but it took a bit longer to cook my veggies and onions that I expected and my meat got overdone.  The onions seem to take the longest, so I suggest giving them their own pan (If going for speed.)  If in no hurry, just use one pan, and do the onions right after the pork.  
  3. In same skillet as the pork (while onions continue sauteeing.)   add carrots, beans, a dab of butter or oil if desired and 1-2 Tablespoons water if desired. Cook 2 -3 minutes, stirring.   (You can just sautee these in cooking spray, but I wanted a bit of extra flavor. -original recipe had you saute them in 1/2 of the fat left from frying the pork chops.  Honestly I didn't even have any fat, but I used lean loin chops, not bone in like the original recipe as well.)  
  4. Add rice and water (or stock)  Heat to boiling.  Reduce heat.
  5. Arrange pork chops over rice.  Arange lemon slices in a single layer over whle mixture.  Spoon onions over chops and lemons.  Squeeze BBQ sauce over the onions.
  6. Cover and simmer for 20-27 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender (It took mine closer to 27 minutes.)

White Bean Chowder Mix in a Jar

Wow, 9 days since my last post. That has to be a record on this blog. I'll make up for it today though.  I've been busy practicing choir music and crocheting.  I'd forgotten how much I like to crochet.  Anyway, on to the recipes.
This recipe is from a really old little booklet that I have on soup mixes to make and put in quart jars.  (I can't believe they had it on amazon - I looked out of curiosity fully expecting it not to be there.  Anyway, that is the book to the side there.  Published in '99 - just a pamphlet really.)  So, I like these jar gifts at Christmas, but I hate to give something away if I don't know if it tasted any good, so every once in a while I decide to try something out of this book. This week it was white bean chowder.  It was relatively easy to put together, and really cooked up well.  I will write the directions as given in the book - as far as cooking times, but I'm writing how to make it for dinner.  I will also add notes as I go along.  I will write out the jar directions at the end of the recipe.
This was pretty good.  I actually liked it.  Ours was a bit thick, but I boiled it at too high of heat, and I'm pretty sure I forgot to cover it so I was low on liquid at the end.  I added some, but probably not enough.  The flavor was great though.  We didn't add the bacon until the very end (I was out and DH picked it up on the way home from work.) Probably would have been even better if I had added it earlier.   I served it with some 30 minutes rolls and it was tasty.  It simmered while I taught my piano lessons, so that was convenient.  This picture isn't the best.  I took it, then decided to thin this with more water.  Looked better then.

Yield:  9 cups of soup

  • 2 cups dried Great Northern beans
  • 2 cups instant potato flakes
  • 1 14 oz. can diced or crushed tomatoes.  (I used diced with added celery, bell pepper and something)
  • 1/3 cup imitation bacon bits (we used real)
  • 1/3 cup dried minced onion
  • 2 Tablespoons chicken bouillon granules
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery powder (no idea what this was.  I didn't know if it wanted celery seed or celery salt.  I ended up finding a dried celery and I used 1 Tablespoon)
  1. Rinse beans.  Place beans in a large microwave safe dish.  Cover with 1 - 2 inches of water.  Cover dish loosely with plastic wrap.  Microwave on high 15 minutes.  (I did 20 - was slow starting this meal and had to pick up a kid from school and go to the pharmacy and pick up a prescrip - I let this cook while I was out.)
  2. Rinse and drain beans.  Place in a large pot.  Add 8 cups of water, diced tomatoes and seasonings.  (everything else except the potato flakes.)
  3. Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer 1 hour and 45 minutes (I forgot to cover mine and had to add water later.)
  4. Stir in potato flakes.  Turn off heat.  Cover and let stand 5 minutes.  Serve immediately.  If not serving immediately, wait until ready to serve to add the potato flakes.

To make in a quart jar.
  1. Place beans in the jar first.
  2. Mix seasonings (bacon bits, minced onion, bouillon, pepper, sage, celery) together and place in a thin zip top bag.  Place it in the jar and gently flatten so it is visible from all sides of the jar.
  3. Place potato flakes in another zip top bag.  Add to jar.  Place lid on jar and attach recipe.
Recipe should read as the directions, possibly adding - remove bag of potato flakes, set aside, remove seasoning packet, set aside.  at the beginning.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Teriyaki burgers

I'm getting a bit more lazy, and posting this with only a link.  It wasn't my favorite burger in the world, it was just OK, so no typing it all in.  I didn't make many changes in the recipe other than I think I make 7 burgers so I have a couple of tinier ones for the littler boys in my house, and I also used all ground beef.  I buy 93/7 and DH bought 85/15 on the turkey, plus it was being used in the lettuce cups we had the next day, and some reviews said the turkey made the burgers crumbly, so I went with beef.  I also made some other changes mentioned in my problematic experience with these burgers.
I think part of the problem with these burgers were just the fact that many things frustrated me while making them

  • couldn't find the magazine - from a taste of home healthy choice magazine.  DH made the menu/grocery list and even did the shopping this week, but I have no clue what happened to this one magazine.  Should go check the recycle bin.  That is where I finally found the last one I was looking for.
  • He didn't buy buns and I didn't plan ahead to make any - but he got some on the way home from work.  Go DH.
  • I ran out of my lovely jarred minced ginger (I did not use a full teaspoon and a half - actually I used a teaspoon of ginger/garlic blend from a jar, and then the rest of what was in my jar of ginger.)
  • I ran out of ketchup.  Luckily DH picked  some up on his way home, but the original sauce was a bit shy of the 1/4 cup ketchup it called for.
  • My breadcrumbs were full of weavil - luckily I had some dried out wheat bread which I ground in the food processor.
  • All of these delays frustrated me because I made a goal to have dinner on the table by 5:30 so people could eat and get on their way - I thought this was a simple meal to make, but after looking for the magazine for over 20 minutes, I didn't manage to even light the grill until after 5:30.  I am glad that I finally got the great idea to look for the recipe online though.  Yeah!
  • By the time I was grilling it was too dark to see - I burned the baby burgers.  Even the not burned burgers tasted a bit dry.  Should have just pan fried them.  I thought about it when I started so late, but really wanted the flavor of the BBQ.
  •  The pineapples didn't grill up as nicely as I wanted to.  - Would use a real pineapple not canned if doing this in the future.
So, all of that being said, the burgers were a bit dry like I said.  I've made a super simple healthy girl teryiaki burger before that just had teriyaki sauce on a veggie burger patty with a pineapple or something super simple like that, and it was better than these which ended up sucking up way more of my evening than I had expected.  
However, maybe I'm just crazy, or biased by my bad experience.  They are well enough rated on the taste of home website, so feel free to check them out.  I do love the concept, because I do love a good teriyaki burger.

banana bread

So, for a long time I've wanted to try the buttermilk banana bread over at Mel's kitchen cafe.  Today I have many bananas, but decided to do my own thing today using buttermilk, but combining a lot of my favorite banana bread recipes. Here's what I did.
The results were OK - I think I should have left them in the oven a little bit longer.  Everyone gobbled it down though.  The 4th baby loaf was the best - least doughy, very tasty.


  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup splenda
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 2 cups mashed ripe bananas
  • 2 eggs (I used extra large today)
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1 cup wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Beat together brown sugar, splenda, applesauce, bananas, buttermilk, eggs and vanilla.  Add remaining ingredients (I measured 1 cup flour, poured some out of the cup and into the wet ingredients, added my baking powder, soda, and salt to the measuring cup still 2/3 full of flour, stirred it up, then added it to the batter with the other cup of flour.  The cinnamon was an afterthought I folded in.)  Mix just until combined. 
  2. Pour into well greased loaf pan.  (today I used 4 small loaf pans that I just bought for making cute gifty sized items.)  Bake at 350 until toothpick comes out clean.  For my small pans it was 40 minutes.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Fettuccine with quick ragu

I've been working on organizing, and hence neglecting the food blogging.  This is something I made a couple of days ago.  Luckily I didn't make any changes even though I debated it. (Ok, the original planned for left over sauce and used less noodles - my family is larger than 4 servings so I didn't plan for left overs, and I was out of onions and used some bulb onions which I sauteed in butter not olive oil.)  OK so I made a few slight changes, but I didn't change the spices or anything.  It turned out really well, and was pretty quick.  I also liked that it used a few more veggies than my regular pasta sauce.  The addition of milk was also something different.
The recipe is from a Food Network Magazine that I got last month to try something new.


  • 1/2 onion (I used 3 bulb onions diced)
  • 1 stalk celery, cut into 4 pieces 
  • 1 small carrot, cut into 4 pieces (I used 5-6 baby carrots)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary (I used the leaves of about 1/2 inch rosemary)
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound ground veal or turkey (I used my pre-cooked ground beef for time's sake)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 28-oz. crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 16 oz. package fettuccine
  • grated parmesan for serving
  1. Pulse onion, celery, carrot, garlic and rosemary in a food processor until finely chopped
  2. Melt butter in a large saute pan over medium high heat.  Add the chopped veggies and cook, stirring until softened and golden.  (3-5 minutes)  Add the meat with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook until no longer pink (Or just toss in the pre-cooked and it is ready.)  Add the tomatoes, milk, 1 cup water and 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package directions. 
  4. Toss the noodles with the ragu and serve topped with Parmesan.



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