Friday, April 29, 2011

Ham and broccoli hash brown casserole

I have to write this one down before I forget what I did.  The original recipe is from my new no whine dinner book, but it called for a cream of celery soup.  I didn't have one, and I knew that when making my grocery list last week, but I also knew that I had seen a recipe for home made cream of celery soup in my $5 dinner mom cookbook, so I got that out. This turned out wonderful.  I loved it and am actually looking forward to my lunch left overs today.  I even think the kids all liked it for the most part.
The original recipe said to have all the frozen items thawed, but I didn't.  It still worked just fine.  They defrosted and heated in the oven.


  • 1.5 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 Tablespoons flour (I used wheat)
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable stock (would have used 1/2, but didn't want to open another jar)
  • 3 Tablespoons freeze dried celery (maybe 2 stalks chopped fresh?)
  • 1 cup fat free sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 30 oz bag frozen shredded potatoes
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese (I didn't measure, but eyeballed it)
  • 10-11 oz. frozen brocoli
  • 8-10 oz diced ham (I used left over from Easter)
  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a 9 X 13 pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a small saucepan, melt the butter.  Stir in the flour until it makes a paste and bubbles.  Whisk in milk and vegetable stock until flour has dissolved into the milk.  Add the celery, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper.   Cook over medium heat for 5 to 6 minutes until thickened.  Remove from heat and stir in the sour cream.  
  3. In a very large bowl, mix shredded potatoes, 1 1/2 cups cheese, broccoli and ham.  Stir in soup mixture.  
  4. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.  (I was worried it wouldn't fit, but it did.)  Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese.  Bake uncovered until heated through (about 45 minutes.)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Striped strawberry/banana ice pop

So, as I posted a while back, I've been making a lot more smoothies lately - mostly green.  Somewhere I got the idea to freeze the left over smoothie into a popscicle - I think with a non-green smoothie because they sounded good - pina colada if I remember right.  Anyway, I have some very old ice pop molds - there are only 4, and I only have the stick part to 3.  I decided I wanted to make more ice pops because I could then control what went into them, and make them out of fruit rather than sugary syrup, sooo, for Easter, each of the kids got a different ice pop mold.  These are the ones we got.
      and I got a book.  From what I have seen in the book, I love it. Just what I was looking for and then some - going to make Tavio tell me even more I've turned into a health food addict, but Oh well.  It is good for him.
The book has chapters on fruit pops, veggie pops, yogurt pops, tofu pops, herbal tea pops, chocolate pops, and specialty pops.  I had Benjamin pick out a pop to try, and this is what he chose.  Of course it was one with Kale in it.  I was going to start with something simple like a plain fruit pop, but went for it with this one.  I did not have Kale so I used spinach.  I also added a bit of agave to the bottom part of the pop, and some strawberries.  I was afraid I wouldn't have enough mixture because the directions say it makes 4 (5 oz) pops, and I wanted to make 5 - but what I didn't know is that my mold is only 4 oz.  So, I had left over.  I would probably not make as much of the jam part again, or the other part for that matter.  The pops fill up fast. I ended up filling all of my star pops with 1/2 and half, and all of the orka molds with the bottom part, and I still had some left over which I figured I'll just use in my next green smoothie.  Anyway, this is what I did this time.
I have yet to try these, but Benjamin asked for a popscicle for breakfast and what was I to say -they have wheat germ, spinach and fruit -how can that be bad?   Then I fed them to the kids for snack and pre-school, but I was too busy to eat one.


  • 1 1/2 cup strawberries, chopped (mine were frozen and I chopped them in the pan as they thawed)
  • 4 Tablespoons agave 
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 cup water (I'd probably use fruit juice here next time - that is what I do to naturally sweeten green smoothies.)
  • 1 Tablespoon wheat germ
  • 5-6 strawberries
  • small squirt of agave (If using fruit juice, I'd leave this out.)
  1. In a small pot over medium heat, combine strawberries and agave and let simmer until the liquid thickens a bit and becomes jam like.  
  2. Pour a small amount of the jam inot the bottom of pop molds.  Let harden at room temperature (I put mine in the fridge - to hurry it along.)
  3. Meanwhile, combine spinach, blueberries, bananas, water, and wheat germ in a blender.  Puree until smooth.
  4. When strawberry jam is hardened, add spinach mixture, sticks (or tops of molds) and freeze.
These were a bit tricky to get out of the mold - not sure if it is the mold or the recipe at this point because I haven't used the molds enough.

Chicken pot pie bundles

The original of this recipe came from my new no whine dinner book.  I changed up the sauce to use stuff I had on hand, and it was so good I'm writing it down this evening.  The only thing I wasn't impressed with is that they took WAY longer to cook than the book stated - like twice as long.  That always annoys me because I'm checking every 2-3  minutes tons of times, and I get everyone ready for dinner way too early, and we eat later than I expect.  So, know these will take at least an hours to prepare and cook - 25-30 minutes in the oven.  (I'm pretty sure - book said 12-15.  I did 12, 3, 3, 2, 3, 2 with maybe another 2 or 3 in there?)  Here is how I made these.


  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 large carrot peeled and diced (1 cup - I used 1 1/2 carrots to get 1 cup)
  • 1/2 small onion, diced 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • couple dashes of poultry seasoning
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup frozen petite peas
  • 3/4 cup frozen corn
  • grated Parmesan cheese
  • 12 egg roll wraps
  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Heat 1 Tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Saute carrot and onion in oil until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook and additional minute.
  2. Sir in chicken, tarragon, salt and pepper.  Cook until chicken is no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
  3. Whisk together broth and cornstarch in a bowl.  Add to the skillet with the peas, corn, and a couple of dashes of poultry seasoning.  Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly.  Simmer until thickened.
  4. To prepare bundles, place 1 egg roll wrap into each cup letting it extend over the sides. (the books says not to spray the tins with cooking spray, but I think I may try it another time to see if it will help the bottom crisp up a bit.)
  5. Place a heaping 1/4 cup of the chicken mix into each wrap.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Fold corners up and over the top of the filling and press to seal the edges together.  Brush the remaining oil on top of each bundle.  (I may skip this next time and just spray with cooking spray - I've done that before with the same results.)
  6. Bake until golden and crispy on top - this took 25-30 minutes for me. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Confetti Pepperoni soup

So, I made a beet soup out of the 10 things you should eat book that I had checked out of the library, and no one liked it -including me and I actually like beets.  So I still had 1 beet that I hadn't used.  I found this recipe in the Family Feasts for $75 a week.  It was great - used a lot of things I already had.  For some reason I kept thinking it wasn't very tasty and haven't used the left overs, but it was good.  A bit spicy from the pepper, and I didn't get the beet and carrots cooked well enough.  I even cooked the veggies a bit longer than the recipe said, and they were still a bit too crunchy.  I'd definitely cook them even longer.


  • 1 cup rice
  • 6 cups stock -it called for beef broth - I used 1 container of beef stock - and 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 beet, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped pepperoni
  • 1 cup uncooked small pasta (like elbow or shell)
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • salt to taste
  1. combine rice, broth, and tomatoes in a soup pot and bring to a boil. (I'd add the carrots and beet here too.)
  2. While the broth comes to a boil, heat oil in a small skillet and saute onion until softened.  Add garlic and cook for another minute or 2.  Add onion, garlic and remaining ingredients to the soup.  Cook until vegetables are tender and pasta is cooked al dente, 10-15 minutes.  (I'd probably wait to add the pasta next time until the veggies had cooked for 5-10 minutes.)

sausage with cabbage and corn saute

This was on my menu for a while before it actually got made because I actually had Brandon make some home-made sausages.  Although I was worried about it as it cooked, it ended up being pretty tasty - I did add the brown sugar though - that was not in the original, but I think it helped everyone like and eat the meal.


  • 1-1.25 lbs Italian sausage (we used home-made)
  • 1/2 head of green cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced (I used only about 1/2 of an extra large onion)
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  1. Cook sausage in a large skillet breaking up as you cook.  (Like you would ground beef)  Transfer to a plate and keep warm.
  2. In the same skillet, add cabbage and onion;  (I left the grease in the pan to fry the onion, but there wasn't much since we used a leaner home made sausage.)  Cook, stirring occasionally 5 minutes.  Add vinegar and cook, stirring occasionally until cabbage is just tender.  (5 minutes)
  3. Stir in corn, brown sugar, salt and pepper, and sausage.  Cooke 2 or 3 more minutes.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Carrot cupcakes

This recipe is from my new No Whine book.  Of course I made them #1 because I promised Benjamin a dessert if he did something or another, and #2 - I thought I might actually get some carrots into Aaron.  (I think he had 2 bites.)  I am now a super goober and halved the oil in a recipe from a healthy cookbook, but they actually list nutritional facts, and each cupcake was going to have 12 g of fat.  So I used 1/2 applesauce.  
To spite the fact that I felt like these had a large amount of sugar, they were not very sweet.  I felt like they were more of a muffin than a cupcake - and in fact had a few family members who ate for breakfast the next morning.
This only solidified the fact that I prefer my carrot cake with pineapple.  I think it adds sweetness. 

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1 cup milk (I used skim)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/4-1 1/2 cups finely grated carrots
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 oz light cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
Directions (very abbreviated)
  1. Mix wet ingredients until well blended.  Add carrots, mix dry ingredients, add to wet and stir until combined.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes (I think with the applesauce I baked them 4 more minutes.) or until toothpick comes out clean.  
  2. When cool, beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth and frost.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

wheat thins

Here are the wheat thins I mentioned in the previous post.  They turned out delicious.  Not quite as durable as the store bought type, and I didn't add the extra salt on top, so not as salty, but they had a great crispiness and wonderful faint vanilla flavor that made me eat a few every time I walked by them cooling on the counter.
batch 1 - cut into squares and then moved to a cookie sheet - + irregular edges = almost all irregular crackers
batch 2 - cut and baked on parchment = nice square crackers with a few irregular edges.

  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
  •  1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • optional additional salt for topping - I did not use it and they were still good - seemed lacking in saltiness, but made up for it with the hint of vanilla
  1. Preheat the oven to 400.
  2. Combine dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt and paprika) in a medium bowl.  Cut in the butter (I use my hands) until well combined.  Add the water and vanilla.  Mix until smooth.
  3. Divide dough into 4 pieces.  Keep other pieces covered while working with 1 piece at a time.  
  4. Roll 1 piece of dough onto parchment paper into a 12 inch square (dough should be about 1/16 inch thick.)  (Again, I recommend rolling straight onto the parchment paper.  It is hard to keep still, but easier to transfer the whole lot of crackers straight from workspace to pan.  It was quite tedious to move a ton of crackers onto the parchment 1 at a time, plus I always seemed to stretch the edges into weird shapes.)  
  5. With a pizza cutter, cut the crackers into 1 1/2 inch squares.  Mover the parchment onto a large cookie sheet.  Bake one sheet at a time for 5-7 minutes.  If some of the thinner ones brown to fast, remove them and return remaining crackers to the oven to finish baking.  (I did this a few times since I didn't trim up my square - I just baked crackers with an irregular shape - they were thinner and did bake more quickly.)

sesame crackers

So, I've wanted to try making crackers for a while now.  One day I felt like crackers and cream cheese and didn't have the cream cheese, so I made the wheat things that I'll post a little later.  They were a success so the next day I tried these.  Both recipes were from King Arthur Flour whole grain baking book.  This is such a great book ( I just pulled it back out looking for this recipe and saw some quinoa pancakes - guess what we are having for breakfast in the morning.  I love having a wheat grinder.)  For these crackers I didn't uses nearly as many sesame seeds as it called for - mostly because I didn't have that many, so I made sure to include the optional sesame oil - they called for "hot sesame oil."  Not sure if they meant temperature, or if there is a spicy one out there, but I just used regular sesame oil in my batter to compensate for the missing seeds.  We cut these with a cute roller we have for raviolis to get the nice zigzag edge.  This is how I made them.

  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (I just grind it finer in the wheat grinder)
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tablespoons butter, chilled (I may have shorted this 1/2 Tablespoon but I can't remember for sure.)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons toasted sesame seeds (I toasted mine in a pan before using them.)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Mix together dry ingredients (flours, sugar, baking powder and salt.)  Cut in butter until mixture is the texture of cornmeal.  (I do this by hand because I find it the easiest.)  Add the sesame seeds and toss to combine.  Add the milk and sesame oil and mix just until the dough comes together.
  3. Working with 1/2 of the dough at a time, Roll dough out on parchment until 1/16 inch thick.  (It is a little tricky to get the parchment to stay put while rolling, but I found that easier than having to transfer all of the 1 inch crackers to a cookie sheet when I was done - I tried it both ways with the wheat thins. Parchment won for me.)  
  4. Using a pastry wheel (we had a zigzag wheel) cut the crackers into 1 inch squares (or get creative and make or use decorative shaped cutters.)  The original says you may reroll the dough once but that is it - I never had to - I just made irregular shapes on the edges.  I figured they all tasted the same.  I also didn't roll on flour, so I think the dough would have worked better, but like I said, I didn't re-roll at all.)
  5. Move the parchment paper with the cut crackers already on there over to a 10 X 15 baking sheet.  Bake until golden brown - 15-18 minutes.  Remove and let them cool completely before serving.

Cinnamon walnut quinoa

I really wanted to make some type of bar breakfast this morning, but really didn't have time.  I certainly didn't feel like cereal because I've had that a couple of days in a row - not sure what happened to my good breakfast planning.  So, I remembered this quinoa I had seen on $5 dinner mom's website and decided to give it a try.  I did cut the recipe down to 1 serving size, but for the most part, proportions are the same - I just used a bit more cinnamon.  This was pretty easy and tasty - took 15 minutes to cook, but that worked just fine - I cleaned up and took care of other people's breakfast while it cooked.  This was plenty sweet - maybe a touch too sweet.


  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup quinoa
  • dash salt
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar (I may try honey next time)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • a few walnuts, chopped
  • a few raisins
  1. Bring water to boil in a small saucepan.  Add quinoa.  Return to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and cook 14 minutes.  
  2. Remove lid, add brown sugar and cinnamon, continue to boil for 1-2 more minutes until liquid is reduced and quinoa is done.  I stirred the walnuts and raisins in just before taking it off the stove.  
  3. Serve as you would oatmeal - I had mine with a little milk.

Chicken Lasagna Florentine

This recipe is from Family Feasts for $75 a week.  I actually liked it quite a bit.  It wasn't as popular with others in the family, but I liked eating the left overs.  I'd give it 4 star from me, but as a family, it gets 3.5.   I changed a bit - but not much - just used stock rather than boullion and water.  I also reduced the oil and butter.

$75 feasts p. 99

  • 12 lasagna noodles, cooked according to package directions and drianed
  • 1 package (2 1/2-3 cups) pre-cooked chicken (or raw and cook it in a pan at the beginning)
  • 1 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach - thawed and squeezed to remove excess water
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided (I think I used more)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
White sauce
  • 2 1/2-3 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 cups milk (I used fat free)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Coat a 9 X 13 pan with cooking spray.
  2. Cook noodles in a pot and chicken in a pan if not using precooked.
  3. In a large bowl, combine cooked chicken, spinach, eggs, 1/2 cup mozzarella, basil, oregano and nutmeg.
  4. To make white sauce, melt butter in a medium saucepan over low heat.  Add garlic powder, parsley and flour.  Stir until well combined.  Gradually add chicken stock and milk, stirring frequently.  Stir in Parmesan.  Continue to stir until thick and creamy.  Remove from heat.
  5. To make lasagna, layer 1/2 of the noodles in the prepared pan.  Top with half of the chicken/spinach mix and half of the white sauce.   Repeat with remaining noodles, chicken mixture and white sauce.  Sprinkle evenly with 1/2 cup mozzarella (this is where I'm sure I used a bit more than 1/2 cup.)  Bake until bubbly and mozzarella begins to brown - about 25 minutes.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Baked Ziti

I made this baked ziti a couple of weeks ago from Family feasts for $75 a week.  I thought it would be a tasty vegetarian dinner, but I just wasn't impressed.  It was made with a home-made spaghetti seasoning mix and even adding an extra Tablespoon of Italian seasoning, I thought it lacked in flavor.  I also used tomato puree and I think it made the sauce a bit thick.  I'd probably use tomato sauce next time.  I've made baked ziti before and liked it a lot more than this recipe - I could use it again, but would definitely make the changes mentioned above and add some pepper, and probably a bit more garlic.
$75 feasts p. 107

Chicken mole

This is another recipe from Family feasts for $75 a week. I was totally afraid to use as much chili powder as this called for (3 Tablespoons)  I only used 1/2 Tablespoon.  I would put more next time.  I also found it a bit silly that the recipe called for stewed tomatoes which she said she then purees.  I just used crushed.  I also started with pre-cooked chicken - and not quite as much as called for.  The result was a super quick meal.  I liked it, just wished I would have put more chili powder, and in fact when I ate it for left overs I added some chili powder.    One thing I like about this book is that the recipes make a lot of food.  We always have left overs.  That is nice because I haven't had to think about lunch for a couple of weeks, and have even had a left over day for dinner, and frozen some of the left overs for another meal later.  Can't beat that!  I acutally served this over white rice because I didn't want to wait for brown to cook.  The white cooked in the same amount of time it took to prepare the meal.  

  • 1 container pre-cooked chicken (2-3 cups chopped cooked - or use raw and chop and cook at the beginning)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons oil (I use a healthy blend)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon chili powder (use more next time)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon paprika (I would omit this next time if using more chili powder)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
  • 3 15 oz. cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 green peppers, seeded and chopped (I was lazy and used 1/2 cup dehydrated red and green)
  • white or brown rice 
  1. (cook rice in a rice cooker.  Cook chicken and set aside if not using pre-cooked - or thaw and set aside)
  2. Place chili powder, cumin and cinnamon in a large pot (4 quart)  Add enough oil to get the spice mix wet with oil.  Heat spices until they're blackened and smoking, 4-6 minutes (I can't say that I did this - mine weren't black just toasted, and they weren't smoking, but they did steam a bit.)
  3. Reduce heat to low and add chocolate (I chopped it into smaller pieces)  Stir until chocolate is melted and combined.  
  4. Add tomatoes and garlic.  Bring to a boil and simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes stirring occasionally.  (This bubbled very large bubbles that splashed all over the kitchen so I covered it with a splatter guard - be warned and cover it before it splashes your cookbook.  :)
  5. Stir in chicken and green peppers.  Simmer 5 more minutes.  Serve over rice.

Stuffed Spinach and cheese pizza with dipping sauce

Today's dinner was a compilation of 3 cookbooks.  The original idea came from no whine with dinner cookbook.  It called for a refrigerated wheat dough - I had a recipe for that I wanted to try in $5 dinner mom, and then I thought it would be good dipped in a red sauce - so I used my go-to sauce from American pie.  All good books.  It turned out OK.   Not a bad way to eat your spinach, and I didn't mind adding the nice tomato sauce either.  Here is how I made the entire dish.

Dough Ingredients

  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 4 cups unbleached white flour
  • 2 scant Tablespoons (2 packages) yeast
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 4 Tablespoons (1/4 cup) Parmesan cheese -I used the powdery Kraft stuff for this because I thought it would incorporated better
Dough directions
  1. Combine water and 2 cups white flour in a mixing bowl (I used my bosch.)  Add yeast, sugar, salt and oil.  Whisk or stir together to make very liquid dough.  Let sit 10 minutes.
  2. Add remaining 2 cups white flour and 2 cups wheat flour.  Mix with the mixer until smooth.  Add Parmesan and Italian seasoning and mix until well incorporated.  
  3. Cover and let rise 45 min to 1 hour.
Filling ingredients
  • 1 16 oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • dough from recipe above
  • 1 8 oz package shredded mozzarella -2 cups
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan (I used the real stuff here - a triangle that I shredded)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta (this was optional and I didn't have any, but I really wanted to try it.  I think it would be delicious.)
  • 20-30 slices turkey pepperoni coarsely chopped (I chopped mine with kitchen scissors)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 425.  Drain spinach in a colander.  Press into the colander to squeeze out extra water. Pat with paper towels.  Place in a medium large bowl.
  2. Add cheeses, pepperoni, garlic powder and a few grinds of pepper to the spinach.  Mix together well.
  3. Take out 2 large rimmed baking sheets.  Pour a little bit of olive oil onto one pan.  (1/2 Tablespoon or so)  Use your fingers to spread the oil all over the pan.  Place 1/2 of the dough on the prepared pan.  Spread it over the oil to cover the entire pan.  
  4. Spread the spinach mixture evenly over the wider bottom 1/2 of the crust leaving 1/2 inch border.  Fold the top part of the dough over the spinach mixture.  (At this point I turned the dough on the pan and kind of stretched it out a bit, pushing it a little flatter.)  Use a fork to press edges of dough together.  Poke the top of the dough with the fork a few times to allow steam to escape.
  5. Bake until crust is golden brown about 15 minutes (I may have done 20)  Cut into slices and serve with sauce.
Crushed tomato sauce Ingredients
  • 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic (5 cloves)
  • 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • salt
  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  (I totally forgot the salt yesterday and it was fine.  I also warmed it up for a minute or 2 in the microwave yesterday to use as a dip.)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Meat and Potato Lasagna

This recipe is from $5 dinner mom.  I made it a while ago and can't remember everything about it.  I do remember that the potatoes seemed overcooked - I seemed to have boiled them too long or something.    I also didn't like the way the the sauce was.  It was put on top.  I wanted it to sink through the whole "lasagna" and it didn't.  It just kind of sat there.  I also added some Italian seasoning because it didn't have very much flavor.  Even with all the changes, this wasn't a favorite of ours.  I didn't mind the concept - potatoes instead of noodles, but I wasn't very impressed with the end result, so I'm not posting the recipe.  

$5 dinner mom p. 153

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Egyptian lentils (Kusherie)

Here is yet another recipe from $5 dinner mom's book.  I really liked this one. I never knew it, but cumin and brown sugar together are absolutely delicious.   I've been eating the left overs for days.  Yummy.  I do have some suggestions though for next time.  -Definitely just stir everything together.  The lentils and rice had nothing on them, but the tomato sauce was very flavorful and good.  The original had you just stir a bit into the noodles, serve them to the side, then put the rice and lentils next to the noodles with the red sauce on top, and onions over that.  I ate a bite or 2 like this, then mixed it together on my plate.   I mixed the rest together to store the left overs.  In the future I'll mix everything because it was hard to divide the right amount of sauce over the right amount of lentils.  I also might add a bit of water to the sauce because as left overs the rice and lentils were a bit crunchy.  I did cut some oil out of this recipe, and used some butter for the onions. 
The only bad thing about this recipe - it does take like every pot in the house.  This is how I made it.

$5 dinner mom p. 244

  • 1 cup elbow macaroni (DH said he would have liked more, but I thought it was fine.)
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 1 green pepper, diced (I used 1/4 cup dehydrated green and red - which I rehydrated)
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons ground cumin
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 sweet onion, cut into strips
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  1. Start brown rice in rice cooker (or on stovetop.)
  2. Cook macaroni according to package directions, drain and set aside.
  3. In yet another pan, cook the lentils in 4 cups of water on medium-high heat for 20 minutes.  If water gets too low, add more.  If lentils are soft, and there is extra water, drain it off. 
  4. In a small skillet saute the diced bell pepper in the oil.  Add the tomato sauce, brown sugar, cumin, salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Let simmer about 10 minutes.
  5. In another skillet (or the same one if you're cooking brown rice on the stove.)  Saute onions in the butter until browned and caramelized.
  6. Next time I will just mix everything together at the end.  As mentioned above, the original had you mix a few spoons of sauce into the macaroni.  Put that in a serving dish.  Mix the brown rice and lentils together and put that next to the macaroni.  Then top it with the remaining tomato sauce and onions.  The only advantage to that was I didn't serve onions to everyone, but that is it.  Definitely easier to mix it all together.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sweet and Sour Hot Dog stir fry

Update 9/20/2011 - Made this again today because I had seen another recipe for "sweet and sour chicken" with ketchup and brown sugar - So glad I decided to check the blog.  I did use chicken (precooked) and even added 1 Tablespoon tomato powder (since all of those other recipes added ketchup I figured a bit of veggie wouldn't hurt.)  Turned out great and was super easy.  I whisked the sauce ingredients together in the saucepan, then heated it up with the chicken.  Definitely my new go-to sweet and sour recipe.

This is another recipe from Family feasts for $75 a week.  I must say that it was a bit weird to have hot dogs in a sweet and sour.  I kept them hoping to appeal to the kids.  I even bought organic hot dogs in an attempt to help it be not so bad.  While it was totally edible, and fine, I wasn't a huge fan of the hot dogs in there.  HOWEVER, I really liked the sweet and sour sauce.  I didn't exactly follow directions because I had larger cans of fruit than the original recipe called for, and I used less ginger, no oil, red not green pepper...  This of course is how I made it.  Original is on page 146 of the book.  With hot dogs, I would give this 3.5-4 stars, but it is getting labeled as 5 star so I will find it when I want a sweet and sour sauce.  Super easy.  I'd just put it with pre-cooked chicken next time.  That would actually make the meal easier because I wouldn't have to chop and fry the hot dogs - just defrost the chicken and toss it in.  

  • 1 package hot dogs - I used central market organic
  • 1 20 oz can pineapple chunks in juice, undrained
  • 1 can mandarin oranges (I think mine was 10 oz, but now all my cans are 15 and I'd still use the 15)
  • 3 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • hot cooked brown rice (I just started some in the rice cooker before starting the meal.)
  1. Cut hot dogs into 1/4 inch chunks.  Heat a sauce pan or wok over medium high heat.  Add hot dog slices and stir-fry until browned.  
  2. Meanwhile, open both cans of fruit.  Pour all of the pineapple juice and a few Tablespoons of the juice from the oranges into a bowl.  Add corn starch, ginger, vinegar, and brown sugar to the juice.  Whisk together until cornstarch and sugar dissolve. 
  3. Pour sauce over hot dogs.  Simmer until sauce begins to thicken.
  4. Add pineapple and red pepper.  Cook until pineapple is heated through, 2-3 minutes.  Remove from heat.  To serve, place over rice.  Top with mandarin orange segments.

West African Peanut Chicken

This recipe is from another book I have checked out of the library called family feasts for $75 a week.  I saw it recommended on when looking to buy $5 dinner mom's book.  It has been OK so far.  I think I prefer $5 dinner mom just because for the most part it is a bit healthier.  However, some of the recipes in family feasts have been interesting.  That author has adopted kids from other countries, so she has tried to make dishes from those countries - hence the West African food.  All I had to do was tell my oldest (black) child it was African and he decided he loved it - even though at first glance it was like - ewww what is this???So that was good.  I did like this recipe.  It seemed like it should have been served over rice or noodles, but it did have enough substance to stand alone.  I would just probably put it over something if making it again.  I enjoyed the unique flavors, and I think (problem with  not blogging right away -we ate this 1 week ago)  most of the kids ate it OK.  (other than the 2 yr. old who wouldn't even tough the chicken I picked out of the dish for him.)
I made a couple of changes - used less oil, a bit less onion, and omitted the cayenne pepper.  I think I probably also reduced the salt, but I can't remember.  This is how I made it - using pre-cooked, chopped chicken for speed, as well as dehydrated, red and green peppers.  Made this meal a snap to put together.
So, it is quick, unique, and has a good deal of veggies - good meal if you ask me.

  • 1-2 Tablespoons oil
  • 2-3 cups pre-cooked, chopped chicken
  • 1 -1.5 large onions, pureed in food processor
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (I tossed them in the food processor with the onion)
  • 3 cups pureed tomatoes -I used canned pureed tomatoes, and they were quite thick.  I had to add water.  Next time I will just use crushed tomatoes.  1 large can (can't remember the size but not the 15 oz.)
  • 1 cup water (I used more like I said - if using crushed tomatoes you may be able to omit this??)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt (original is 1 Tablespoon but I can't think that I put that much in.)
  • 1 green pepper seeded and diced - I used 1/2 cup dehydrated - rehydrated with 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  1. Heat oil over high heat.  (cook chicken if not using pre-cooked - remove and set aside.)  Add onions and garlic and cook until onions are soft and begin to brown.  Add pureed tomatoes and 1 cup water.  Reduce heat, bring to a simmer and simmer for a few minutes.  (This is when I chopped my tomatoes)
  2. Add chicken to the pot, stir in peanut butter until it is well incorporated.  Add pepper and salt.  Simmer over low heat 10-15 minutes.  (Here I cleaned up and set the table.)
  3. Stir in bell pepper and tomatoes, simmer 3-4 more minutes.  

Lemon blueberry muffins

This recipe is from $5 dinner mom's book, but I have changed it, so I'm writing what I did while it is in the oven.  I'm pretty sure I'll want more lemon flavor and will want to add some lemon zest in the future.
These came out a bit dense, and had an odd flavor - I'm thinking from using pure Truvia - maybe next time try 1/4 cup suger, 1 T truvia ??  Also, I may add a bit more milk to counter the wheat flour substitution.


  • 2 1/4 cup flour - I would have subbed 1/2 wheat, 1/2 white, but I only had 1/2 cup wheat ground, so I used 1/2 cup wheat, 1 3/4 cup unbleached white.
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 Tablespoons truvia
  • 3/4 cup milk (I used fat free)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Juice of 2 lemons - about 3 1/2 - 4 Tablespoons
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • pinch sugar (I used less than a teaspoon)
  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Coat a muffin tin will cooking spray.
  2. Whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  
  3. Add eggs, truvia, milk, vanilla and lemon juice and mix until well blended. Stir in blueberries.  
  4. Divide among muffin cups.  Sprinkle with a pinch of sugar.  Bake for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  

Monday, April 11, 2011

quinoa and black bean burritos

OK, so our next healthy foods group will be on quinoa.  This is something I've wanted to learn more about.  I tried it once and wasn't impressed, but I think I overcooked it before.  After talking about quinoa with my friends a bunch lately and seeing a lot of quinoa posts on $5 dinner mom's website, I decided to give it another try.  This is what I tried.  The recipe is from $5 dinner mom's website.  For some reason I thought it wasn't going to make enough for my family, so I made about 1.5 times the recipe.  It was tons.  I think I'm going to freeze some.  I just have to decide if I want to freeze it as just filling or as burritos because I have tons of left overs.
I found this to be a bit bland.  It definitely needed the "guac de gallo" that she made to go with it, but even that was bland - no chili pepper - I added a dash of onion powder and garlic powder to give it some flavor.   On day 2 I didn't have any more of the avocado pico left so I put sour cream and taco sauce on them, and they were fine.
Here is how I made it - although I don't really suggest it unless you want a ton - probably better to click on the link and follow $5 mom's directions.


  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 can (15 oz.) petite diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained (measured about 3 cups)
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • tortillas and cheese for serving.
Avocado pico
  • 1 1/2 avocados, diced
  • 1 1/2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 green pepper, diced
  • dash cumin
  • juice of 1 lime
  • dash of onion powder
  • dash of garlic powder
  • dash of salt and pepper
  • cilantro (I totally forgot this, and not even on purpose - oops - add it if you like it.)
  1. Place vegetable stock in a pot with the quinoa.  Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes.  Add tomatoes, beans, cumin, and lime juice.  Continue cooking until liquid has absorbed and quinoa is cooked (about 10 more minutes.)  Season with salt and pepper.
  2. To make the avocado pico, just mix all the ingredients in a bowl.  
  3. To serve, place quinoa and black bean mixture in tortilla, top with avocado mix and cheese.  Roll up and enjoy.

green smoothie

So, one of my friends started a healthy foods group.  I'm loving it.  Our first meeting was on green smoothies.  Hmm, this was going to be a quinoa post, but I guess I'll post about green smoothies first since I just mentioned it.  I've made a ton of these in the past few weeks.  I actually got a membership to costco again to buy their produce - particularly their spinach for green smoothies.  I'll find a picture eventually and post it.
I've seen these at various places on the web and even in books.  I saw them once on the sisters cafe, once in my $5 dinner mom breakfast and lunch cookbook, and I even checked out  - although the first time I looked at her site I was lost - I have since found lots of info there and even watched some you tube videos of green smoothies and other healthy stuff.
Anyway, at our class we made them with water - I have tried them with water, milk and water, milk and juice, almond milk and juice, agave, no sweetener, and about a million combinations of fruits.  This is my basic recipe.  I use a bosch blender which measures to 6 cups on the side, but really holds more like 7.


  • 1.5 cups almond milk (or milk, or water, but almond milk is my favorite)
  • 1.5 cups juice (I've used apple and white grape so far - I like juice - it sweetens it without added sweetener.)
  • lots of spinach - maybe 4 -5 cups or so - I pack it into the blender - pushing it down into the liquid.
  • other greens if desired - I use 4 kale leaves regularly -it has a stronger flavor, but isn't too bad.
  • 1 banana (this is really key - it makes the smoothie smooth, and really helps hide the flavor of the greens - I have made them without banana, but they are better with - this from a person who doesn't care for banana.
  • 1 bowl of other fruit - I really like frozen berries
  1. I make these by putting the liquid in the blender with the greens and banana.  I turn my blender up full speed and head to the freezer to grab my berries.  By the time I get back, I have a nice green liquid.  I add the berries and blend for another couple of minutes until it is nice and smooth.
Things we've tried
  • tropical -tried with all pineapple, and a bit of coconut extract.  Good, but needed a banana - much better with the banana.  Pineapple is grainy and will make the smoothie a bit thicker.  It will also stay green, but it is tasty, and I only used canned - fresh would be tons better, but DS asked for tropical and canned was what I had.
  • chopped apple - Just core and toss in - it is good, great addition, but will make the smoothie thicker.
  • cantaloupe - Another friend loves cantaloupe.   I didn't care for it.  It made the smoothie very thick and grainy.  Plus I wasn't a fan of the flavor.
  • Any combination of berries - right now in the freezer we have strawberries, blueberries, cherries, raspberries, and loganberries.  Any combination of these have been tasty.  We've done blueberry/strawberry, strawberry/banana, mixed, strawberry/loganberry, strawberry/cherry.  strawberry/cherry/blueberry.......
  • Orange - I tossed one in thinking it would be great - not so great.  Very thick -the middle of the orange didn't grind up well.  I may try this again with a better quality of orange though.  It really should be tasty.
That is what I've tried so far, but we're still trying different things.  

Chocolate Almond Avocado Brownies

These are from yet another book.  This one is only checked out of the library.  It is called the 10 Things you need to eat.  It has been a pretty good read.  In addition to the 10 things there are other tips and ideas, and other good for you foods listed throughout the book.  The 10 things they list are Tomatoes, Avocados, Beets, spinach, quinoa, lentils, cabbage, super fish, nuts, and berries.  Each of the 10 things then has recipes using them.  I have a couple things listed to try this week.  The first I got to were the Chocolate Almond Avocado brownies.  They are in the avocado section - the other thing I want to try with avocados are smoothies, but I had already made my green smoothie for the day, and I think I actually made these brownies and quinoa burritos with avocado pico de gallo, so I figured we had had enough avocado for the day.
These brownies turned out good.  I wish I would have chopped my almonds a bit smaller, but other than that, they were good.  These were quite a dark chocolate flavored brownie.  I like my brownies a bit fudgier.  These are a bit dark for my preference on brownies, but good none the less.  All of my pictures of this are bad - I totally need to get my flash fixed because I can't take pictures of dark things after the sun has gone down.  Bummer.  Here's a small pic of the brownies - poor quality and all.


  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup canola oil (I used smart balance healthy blend)
  • 1 large ripe Hass avocado, pitted and peeled.  (I used 1.5 medium small avocados)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a 9 X 13 glass baking dish with cooking spray (Original had you line with parchment.  I was lazy and didn't and had no problems with anything sticking.)
  2. Whisk together the flour, cocoa, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Grind almonds in a food processor until roughly chopped.  Stir nuts into the cocoa mixture.
  4. Break chocolate into pieces and chop in the food processor until coarsely chopped.  Stir into cocoa mixture.
  5. Mix oil, avocado, eggs and sugars in the food processor until smooth.  Use a rubber spatula to transfer the wet mixture into the cocoa mixture.  Fold together and pour into prepared dish.
  6. Bake for 35 minutes until batter has just barely set in the middle.  (I think I left mine 41-42 minutes.)

Raspberry breakfast cake

So, I got another new cook.  This one is called no whine with dinner.  Any guesses as to the reason I got this book?  Couldn't have anything to do with a super picky 2 year old.  Let me tell you, he wouldn't even try the cake.  (of course he did know dad was making waffles as well, but I don't think he would have tried it anyway.) So, this was quite tasty.  a bit more sugar than I would have liked.  I think I'll try it again and sub out some truvia.  I did like the crunch the sugar on top of the raspberries gave it.  I was also surprised at how quickly it cooked.  I used frozen berries and expected it to take a bit longer, but I actually pulled it out of the oven a minute early because I thought it smelled like it was burning.
As far as this cookbook goes - it is OK.  I've gotten into a health food kick again, and am trying to reduce sugar and processed foods while increasing fruits and veggies.  This book, while healthier than other books doesn't help me out there as much as I would have liked.  It does a lot of things like use canola oil rather than other oil, and use wheat bread, or add wheat germ, but it still uses a decent amount of sugar, and white flour.  However, it isn't bad - I'm judging this on my newfound health kick.  On a normal day 2 months ago I would have thought this book was the greatest.  I still think it is good.  I can't wait to try more recipes from it (even though Mr. picky didn't even try this one.)  This recipe was delicious. (actually getting a 5 star rating from me.) Definitely more like cake than breakfast.  I also like that every recipe includes nutritional information at the bottom.  That is a plus.


  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon sugar, divided
  • 1/4 cup canola oil (I use a healthy blend oil)
  • 1/2 cup milk -called for 1% - I used 1/4 cup 2% and 1/4 cup skim because I don't buy 1% usually
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup raspberries (I used frozen with no problems)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Toasty tuna melt casserole

I know when I make tuna Tavio will hate dinner.  Last night Benjamin even whined and whined about it, but then ate it all.  Go figure.  However, I guess because this looked like bread Mr. Picky 2 year old actually tried dinner.  He wanted it with syrup (sadly it was on the table still from breakfast.)  I wouldn't let him do that, but I did allow ketchup and he ate over 1/2 of his food.  I was sooo excited.  (This child eats nothing that looks like a casserole.  I usually separate out his food to try and get him to try at least a portion of it.)  Anyway, the recipe is from yet another book I have checked out of the library right now.  Family feasts for $75 a week.  I think this is my second recipe that I've tried.  I liked this one better than the last one.  This called for "10-12 oz dry bread cubes (use crouton recipe on page 284 or buy stuffing mix - the kind with the seasonings in a separate packet.)"  This confused me a lot because The crouton recipe was flavored with spices and they wanted you to buy stuffing mix with the separate seasoning.  I couldn't find the stuffing mix with the separate packet, but I didn't look very hard. The crouton recipe said only use 4 slices of bread - I cut only 3 of what I had left, but that didn't weigh anywhere near 10-12 oz so I grabbed a package of seasoned croutons and used the rest of that.  I think all total I only ended up with about 8 oz.  So, the crouton recipe would have needed to be doubled.  Anyway, definitely confusing for me.  I would try this again with the stuffing mix, or making my own croutons, but I liked the flavorings added by the seasoned croutons, so I think I would add that if using plain bread or stuffing again - or just go ahead and use the flavored croutons or flavored stuffing - who knows.  Point is it turned out good this way, so I wouldn't change too much.  Here is how I made it.


  • 3 slices of bread, cubed (I had decent sized homemade wheat)
  • 1/2-2/3  package of seasoned croutons
  • 3 5 oz. cans tuna in water (not drained)
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons dehydrated onion
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 425 - Put bread on a cookie sheet and spray with cooking spray.  and bake for 10-15 minutes or until crisp.  Reduce oven heat to 400.
  2. Meanwhile, mix 3 the tuna with their water, dehydrated onions, eggs, milk, pepper, curry powder, and butter in a bowl. 
  3. Spray a 9 X 13 pan with cooking spray.  Place dried bread and croutons on the bottom of the pan.  Toss to evenly distribute.  Pour tuna mixture on top, pressing the bread into the sauce if necessary.  
  4. Sprinkle with cheese.  Bake until it starts to puff up, the cheese has melted, and the bread cubes have browned some.  20-30 minutes.

Monday, April 4, 2011

White Chicken Chili

This is a recipe from $5 dinner mom's cookbook. There were a couple of things I really liked about this recipe - 1 it used dried beans. I've been trying to learn to do that, and this turned out fine. 2 -it used a home-made white sauce not a canned cream of something soup or a canned enchilada sauce. I pretty much followed the recipe, so I'm not posting. It is on page 130 of the book. 

Dominican Rice and Beans

This is another recipe I found in $5 dinner mom's cookbook.  It was pretty good as well.  I found it to be a bit salty, so I'd probably cut down on the salt.  I had to double the recipe in the book, and I felt it needed more cumin.  I wasn't super happy with the flavor added by the Adobo Seasoning.  I thought I had used this before, but it was not what I had remembered.  I totally didn't follow directions on the rice because I wanted everything to finish cooking while I was taking a kid to soccer practice, and I used brown rice instead of white.  I did learn a new fact though - brown rice will pop like popcorn if left long enough in hot oil.  :) Anyway, this is how I made it.  Turned out well for starting from dry beans.


  • 2 cups dried red kidney beans
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1.5 Tablespoons oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup dehydrated red and green pepper mix (or use regular - I was just being lazy)
  • 3 Tablespoons dehydrated onion flakes
  • 2 sprigs fresh cilantro
  • 4 teaspoons Adobo seasoning (would probably drop to 2 or 3 and up cumin next time)
  • dash cumin (would up to at least a teaspoon next time.)
  • a few grinds of pepper
  1. Soak kidney beans overnight or if you forget like me, just boil them and let them soak in the hot water for 2 hour.  Drain and rinse the beans.  Put them back in a medium saucepan and cover with 2 inches of water.  Bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat and cook for 45 min to 1 hour.  
  2. In a medium saucepan heat oil.  Add the rice to the oil.  Stir and let rice brown a bit (but not too much or it will pop :)  Original had you add hot water to the pan and cook it.  I moved mine over to the rice cooker, added the water and set it to cook while away.
  3. After the beans have cooked for 45 min - 1 hour, add tomato paste, bell pepper, onion, adobo seasoning and cilantro.  Let beans finish cooking - 30 min to 1 hour (depending on when you added the extra stuff - I opted for a shorter time up front and longer later to be gone during the last part of cooking time.)  
  4. Serve beans over rice.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Honey Baked Lentils

This is a recipe out of $5 dinner Mom's cookbook.  I only made a couple of small changes for our tastes and to make things easy.  I was very afraid it wouldn't work out because I burned my lentils to the bottom of the pan, plus I haven't been a huge fan of lentils in the past, but the combination of the lentils, honey, mustard and bacon was very good.  This was surprisingly well liked by all, and I would make it again, but probably make 1.5 cups lentils.  Here's how I made this


  • 1 cup lentils (I just used regular)
  • 4 slices bacon (I used pre-cooked but I still microwaved them to crisp them up.)
  • 2 Tablespoons mustard
  • pinch ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon dehydrated onion flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 cups brown rice

  1. Cook lentils by placing in a medium saucepan with 3 cups water.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.  (Mine burned because I got distracted and let them boil for a while before putting the lid on - thus reducing my water - Normally this would not be a problem.)  
  2. Cook brown rice according to package directions.  (I tossed mine in the rice cooker.)
  3. Crisp up bacon in the microwave if desired.  I put it in on paper towel for 30 seconds.  Crumble or chop
  4. Preheat oven to 350.  In a small bowl mix mustard, ginger, salt, dehydrated onion and 1 cup of water.  
  5. When the lentils are cooked, place in an 8 X 8 baking dish.  Pour mustard/water mixture and 1/2 of the bacon over the lentils.  Mix.  Sprinkle with the remaining bacon.  Drizzle with honey.  
  6. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until bubbling.  Serve over rice.


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