Monday, June 27, 2011

Lentil spinach salad

Here is the other one that worried me this week.  It was actually quite good.  I saw this pictured in my taste of home magazine and thought it looked interesting because it had lentils and spinach in a salad.  I though hmm, that's different, I wonder if it's good?  However because I wondered if it was good, I worried about trying it.  Luckily it was better than I expected.  Not sure my kids would agree though... But that has a lot to do with the fact that #1 it was a salad - Men (boys) don't eat salads and #2 if you're going to force me to eat a salad, then it must be covered in Ranch (I wouldn't allow ranch.)  Poor guys.


  • 1 cup dried lentils, rinsed
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 medium cucumber, seeded and chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 1/4 cup diced sweet onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 5 cups spinach, chopped
  • 1 5 oz. container feta
  • 5 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled (I used pre-cooked and chopped it up.)
  1. In a small saucepan, bring lentils and water to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20-25 or until tender.  Drain and rinse in cold water. 
  2. In a large bowl, whisk vinegar, mint, oil, honey, basil and oregano.  Add lentils, cucumber, zucchini, onion and tomatoes.  Stir to combine.  Add spinach, cheese and bacon.  Toss to combine.  

Cauliflower Bake

This is the second meal in a week that I have actually been a little bit worried to taste or try.  Who knows what possess me to try things I'm not even sure I'll like.  Mostly it is curiosity.  I don't think I've posted the other one yet, so I'll make it my next post.
This meal comes from $5 dinner mom's book.  It was so plain that I was very worried.  The book didn't even give amounts on salt and pepper.  I was totally afraid it was going to have absolutely no flavor with just salt and pepper so I added cinnamon and then worried that the cinnamon wouldn't go with the other flavors.  My debate was either cinnamon or garlic/herb and onion or something.  I chose cinnamon thinking  it might work out because it was like an apple pie with cheese.
Anyway, the dish turned out fine.  I could taste the salt and the cinnamon, but not the pepper.  Not too bad for a vegetarian meal if you ask me.  I was pleasantly surprised.  However, it doesn't rank up there as one of my all time favorites either.  Tavio hated it - made gagging noises all through the meal, but everyone else ate it just fine including the fussy 2 year old.  I think he actually ate about 4 bites.  That is a lot for him for a casserole type dish.  Yea!


  • 1 large head cauliflower, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 16 oz. cottage cheese
  • 1/4 or 1/2 teaspoon salt (can't remember if I threw 2 or 1 1/4 teaspoons in there.)
  • Dash pepper (1/8 teaspoon max)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 handful shredded cheddar cheese
  1. Steam cauliflower pieces for 5-6 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350.  In a large bowl, mix together flour, cottage cheese, salt, pepper, and cinnamon.  Stir in cauliflower.
  3. Pour into an 8 X 8 dish.  Sprinkle with Cheddar cheese.  Bake for 20-30 minutes.  (directions said 20 minutes until cheese turns "golden brown" - That never really happened even after 30 but I took it out not wanting to end up with soggy cauliflower or anything.)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Deep dish pizza potpie + pizza dough recipe

Tonight's dinner was also inspire by $5 dinner mom.  I love her book.  Has some great ideas.  I didn't make as many changes to this one as the pasta salad from last night, but I did make some.
Warning - it is pretty time consuming - plan 2 hours - dough has to rise, sauce has to simmer, then it all has to cook in the oven.
It was pretty well liked by the kids.  Aaron is finally getting better at trying food and actually tried a couple of bites - of course he called what he as trying eggs (it was really cottage cheese.)  I was happy he tried that and sausage.  Hooray for small victories.
I'm also including $5 dinner mom's pizza dough or at least my adaptation of it.  It isn't my favorite for pizza - I have used it - not following her instructions to cook it first, top it and cook some more, but just like I always do - cook it at high temp with topping already on.  It is OK.  It is full of seasonings which I don't care for in a pizza crust.  I like my crust more smooth.  However, I don't mind using this for calzones, or in this case as the top of the pizza pot pie.  However, I made some changes in directions this time and had no problems with it so here is what I did today.


  • 1 pound Italian sausage (we used homemade, took it out of the casings and fried it up in crumbles)
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 clover garlic, minced
  • 1/2 large onion chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped (we used a few tiny sweet orange, red and yellow that we have - would have equaled 1 normal size)
  • 2 14.5 oz canes diced tomatoes drained
  • 16 oz. cottage cheese (original was ricotta but for some reason I forgot to buy it.
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 batch homemade whole wheat pizza dough (see below)
Pizza dough ingredients
  • 1 cup + 2-4 Tablespoons water (I started with 1 - wasn't enough and poured more - not sure exactly how much, but I added a little 3 times, so my guess is 2-4 Tablespoons.)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Mix all dough ingredients together in a mixer.  Let knead in the mixer for 6-10 minutes - until smooth and elastic.  Cover and let rise until doubled.  (that is it for the pizza dough - use it any way you like - for this I just let it rise while I prepared the rest.  It was ready when the rest was.)
  2. In a saucepan, cook sausage -we crumbled it as we cooked it.  Transfer to paper towels to drain.  
  3. In the same skillet melt butter (we didn't have any grease to clean our, or to even saute the onions because we were using a lean homemade sausage -you may need to adjust directions accordingly), saute onions, garlic, oregano, thyme, and Italian seasoning until the onion begins to soften.  Add bell peppers and saute briefly.  Add diced tomatoes and cooked sausage.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 20 to 30 minutes. (I worried this wouldn't simmer since I had drained the tomatoes, but it worked fine.)
  4. Preheat oven to 375.  In a medium bowl, whisk eggs.  Add cottage cheese and Parmesan and stir to combine.
  5. Pour half of the sausage filling in a 9 X 13 baking dish.  Pour cottage cheese over the top and smooth out to cover sausage layer.  Top with remaining sausage mixture - coating cottage cheese evenly.
  6. Spray counter with cooking spray and roll dough into a 10 X 14 inch rectangle.  Carefully pick up the rectangle and place over the baking dish allowind 1-2 inches to flop over the edge of the dish.  Press dough alond the edge of dish to seal.  Cut 4-5 slits in teh top of the dough to vent.
  7. Bale for 50-60 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling.  Remove and let cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

Shrimp Enchiladas

Brandon requested Enchiladas for Father's day dinner.  I asked what type and he said pork or something.  I searched mel's kitchen cafe for a recipe and found these shrimp Enchiladas and decided to try them.  They were a great enchilada - if you liked shrimp - however, I don't so I really didn't like them.  I thought the shrimp was edible, not to tough or anything, but didn't like the fish flavor the whole enchilada had.  However, even not liking shrimp or fish very much, I must say that the sauce for the enchiladas was delicious.  I could make this with pork, chicken or cheese and be very happy with it.  AND, my shrimp lovers, loved these enchiladas.  So, don't let my dislike of seafood dissuade you from trying these.  I will warn that they are a bit time consuming, but so are most enchilada recipes.  I did make a few changes - bit more shrimp because that is what DH bought, and cheddar cheese because what I thought was monterey jack in my freezer was actually mozzarella.  I also do have to say that we had sweet red, yellow and orange peppers and some great cherry tomatoes that we used for the tomatoes and bell peppers.  Both were wonderful.


Cheese Sauce:
  • 1 cup sweet red, orange and yellow pepper, chopped
  • ½ cup onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  • 1 ½ cups Cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup sour cream

Shrimp Mixture:
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 ½ pounds shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped into bite-size pieces
  • ½ cup onion, chopped
  • 2 cups ripe tomatoes, chopped (we used some cherry tomatoes)
  • 1 ½ cups cheddar
  • 16 taco size tortillas


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9X13-inch dish and set aside.
  2. Saute red pepper, onion in 1/4 cup butter until crisp-tender. Add oregano, salt, garlic powder, pepper, cayenne pepper, and flour; blend well and cook, stirring constantly for about a minute. Whisk in the cream and continue cooking for 3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Add 1 1/2 cups cheese; stir until melted. Add sour cream, stir to blend. Set aside.
  3. In another skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Saute shrimp and 1/2 cup onion until shrimp are pink (don't overcook or the shrimp will be tough). Add chopped tomatoes and 1/2 of the cheese sauce. Spoon 1/3 cup shrimp mixture into each tortilla. Sprinkle a bit of cheese on top of shrimp mixture. Roll the enchiladas up tightly. Arrange seam side down in a 9X13-inch glass baking dish. Spoon remaining cheese sauce over tortillas and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.

Lemon Chiffon pie

I must stop commenting how far behind I am.  It is the new norm for my blog.  I'm going to be surprised when I'm actually caught up.  :)  This particular recipe is still up in my browser from Father's day last sunday.  (as is my next post which was the dinner I made.)  Brandon actually picked peach crisp, but then I had to make a pie for church, and he picked lemon chiffon.  I had him buy graham cracker crusts because I had forgotten to make the pie until the last minute, and he bought 2 along with 2 bags of large lemons, so I made 2.  Now I have to remember what I changed.  :)  Pretty sure it was just the amount of lemon zest.  I like a lemony pie.
This was the first time I had made this type of pie, and I found the instructions on allrecipes to be a bit vague for my liking.  I'll try to add detail.
I had thought this would be a simple pie, but it was a bit involved.  However, that was fine. What wasn't fine was  the horrible lemons we got - tons of skin making them hard to squeeze.  Then when we almost had our cup full of juice, it got knocked over by a hubby trying to be helpful.  Not a delightful time, but the pie got made and didn't have to bake in the oven, and it turned out delicious, and we had one for home and one for church, so I guess it was still a win.  I'm writing instructions for 1 pie.  It works fine to double and make 2 at a time as well.


  • 1 .25 oz package unflavored gelatin
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crust
  1. Soften gelatin in water 5 minutes.  
  2. Meanwhile in the top of a double boiler, beat egg yolks.  Add sugar, lemon juice and salt.  Cook stirring constantly until of custard consistency (this was when it thickened, but not super thick - maybe like a thin gravy - I expected it to get thicker and worried that it wouldn't turn out, but it did.)  Remove from heat and add grated lemon zest and softened gelatin and stir thoroughly.  Cool
  3. When mixture begins to get thick, (It won't be super thick - again, I was waiting for pudding texture or something and worried that it wasn't going to work - basically when mixture is cooler and a bit thicker) In a clean bowl, whip egg whites until stiff, adding remaining 1/2 cup sugar while whipping.  Fold egg whites into custard.
  4. Pour filling into pie shell and chill in the refrigerator.  Serve when firm.  (I chilled mine overnight.  It firmed up great and was wonderful - light and airy with a great lemon flavor.)

Southwest chicken pasta salad

Here's another recipe whose inspriation came from the $5 dinner mom's cookbook, but I totally changed it up.  It really is only the same as the original in that it has black beans, noodles and chicken.  It turned out really well.  You can eat it cold or hot, but I liked it a lot better hot.  Heated up it reminded me of an enchilada casserole or something.  I also loved that it was super easy.  It did make a ton though.  I could probably freeze half of it, or leave out 1/2 of the noodles next time.


  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can corn, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, drained (15 oz)
  • 1 can dice green chilies (4 oz)
  • 2 cups cooked chicken
  • 1/2 container of taco sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 16 oz. package noodles (I used bowtie, but you could use any)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • cheddar jack cheese -to taste
  1. Cook noodles according to package directions.  Rinse and drain.  
  2. In a large bowl, combine taco sauce, cumin, garlic, tomatoes, black beans and corn.  Stir until well blended.  Add chicken and noodles.  Stir to combine.  (After this I refrigerated mine because we went to the pool and I kind of planned on eating this cold - you can choose to do that to let flavors blend if desired, or not.)
  3. Stir in 1/2-1 cup of cheese.  If heating, you can combine everything in the noodle bowl and stir until cheese melts.  I just topped each individual serving with additional cheese and heated it for 30 seconds to 1 minutes in the microwave depending on serving size for those who wanted to eat it warm.  

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Banana muffins and peach muffins

Here are a couple more recipes for muffins I made.  I'm loving the waffle mix I made the other day.  It is so easy to just make something up in the morning with the mix already made.  A few days ago I made chocolate raspberry waffles by adding some smashed raspberries and chocolate to the waffle mix.  Then I made some banana muffins using the waffle mix, and today I have peach muffins in the oven.  I have made up my own recipes.  The recipe given in the book is -make anything using a 3-2-1-1-1 recipe - 3 parts mix, 2 parts fruit or veggie, 1 part sweetener, 1 part sour cream or yogurt, 1 part water - I've found that to be too much water, and too much sweetener.

Here are the banana muffins.  They were well liked - Aaron even finished his - 2 days in a row.  Getting Aaron to eat anything is always impressive, so that made me happy.  He wasn't a huge fan of the peach ones - only ate about 1/2 a muffin (if that.)
No pictures - sorry.  DH has the good camera at scout camp, and they aren't spectacularly pretty or anything.  :)


  • 1.5 cups waffle mix
  • 1 cup smashed ripe banana (2 bananas for me)
  • 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon water (approximately - I started with 1/2 cup, but only poured a tiny bit.)
  1. Mix ingredients together in a bowl.  Divide evenly among 10-12 greased muffin tins.  Bake at 375 for 18-22 minutes.
Peach muffins
  • 1.5 cups waffle mix
  • 1 cup mashed peaches (I used some canned peaches - they were packed in pear juice and very moist, requiring no other liquid)
  • 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 Teaspoons chopped almonds
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  1. Mix ingredients together in a bowl.  Divide evenly among 10-12 greased muffin tins.  Bake at 375 for 18-22 minutes.
I thought these would be tasty with a little oat/cinnamon/sugar (maybe even almond) topping, but I didn't know if the little boys would like it, so I left it off.  Maybe next time though.  

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Waffle mix carrot cake muffins

Here are the muffins I made with the mix from the previous post - quite yummy.


  • 3 cups waffle mix 
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1 cup yogurt (I used vanilla)
  • 1/4 cup "organic sugar"  (I used brown sugar here)
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple (original showed 1/2 cup pineapple.  I added another 1/2 cup to get the mix moist enough.  That worked perfectly.  I did not drain the pineapple, just scooped 1/2 cup out of the top of the can, then scooped out another 1/2 cup.)
  1. Preheat oven to 375.  Combine all ingredients.  Stir until moistened.  Spray 2 muffin tins with cooking spray.  Divide batter amoung tins (I made 22) Bake for 20 minutes.  (Original recipe said 30 minutes.  I took mine out at 23, and had 6 burned, so I suggest checking at 20 minutes.)

waffle mix/ waffles

So, a friend of mine found a new food storage website -  The woman from the site puts out a cookbook with her food storage plan - while she it totally over the top for me in a lot of things, I really wanted to try her waffle mix.  She uses it for lots of things - waffles, pancakes, muffins, and it is pretty healthy, so how can you lose right?  So I went ahead and tried it with waffles yesterday morning and muffins this morning.  The waffles were fine - sweeter than I would make a waffle, but I really liked the muffins we had this morning.  Tavio actually ate 3 for breakfast and then 4 for lunch, but hey, what was I going to say?  It was a good meal - had veggies, fruit, whole grains, eggs and milk for some protein and even some yogurt - See, how could I say that wasn't a good lunch - even if it was the same as breakfast?  I myself have eaten more than I would like to count.

While this book is full of some useful info I do find it a bit confusing.  For example, I could find no recipe for actual waffles - I just had to guess to make a good consistency.  It is also organized rather strangely, and uses ingredients I just don't have - like powdered vanilla and powdered honey.  And, it is super over the top for food storage - like she sprouts her grains then dehydrates them, then grinds them, and she makes seemingly EVERYThing from scratch including all sorts of Faux meats and milks.  I haven't figured out how you would ever have enough hours in a day to do all that, but like I said, there are great tidbits of info in there and a lot of things I'd still like to try.  Thanks so much Lisa for letting me borrow your book.  I don't at all mind being the guinea pig for the recipes.  :)

Waffle mix

  • 10 cups freshly ground whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered honey - I used 1 cup splenda (I have some I need to use) and 1/2 cup sugar - for trial purposes, they were what I had in my pantry.
  • 1 1/2 cups ground white beans (I ground small white beans in my grinder with no problem)
  • 1 cup egg powder
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon baking soda
  • 3 Tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 2/3 cup powdered milk
  • 1 Tablespoons vanilla powder (I used I think 4 Tablespoons french vanilla non dairy creamer - Because that is what I had that seemed like it would work as a substitution.)

  1. Mix everything together in a large container.  (I used a bucket I had got to make bread in 5 minutes a day - it was pretty much the only thing I had that was big enough.)

To make waffles mix 2 cups mix with 1 1/2 cups water.  That made almost 2 waffles for me.  At first I used 1 1/2 cup mix and 1 cup water.  That filled my large waffle iron perfectly, but they were way too dense.

Chicken bundles and lemon rice

This wins as the second recipe to post because it was really good.  Super good.  I liked both the chicken and the rice.  I was actually sad to not get to eat the left overs on this meal, but I graciously gave them to my teenage boys knowing they wouldn't appreciate the lentils or quinoa we had as left overs as well.  :)
This is definitely a keeper.
This recipe is from my Taste of Home magazine from a woman named Sheila Cutchlow of Washington, D.C.  Thank you Sheila for such a yummy meal.  This is definitely going in one of my favorites.  As a bonus, it wasn't super hard to prepare -a bit of work to roll the chickens, but no dicing, and they cooked in 20-25 minutes.  Score!  Here is my slightly modified version.


  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 8 oz package cream cheese (I used Neufchatel with no trouble), softenend
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 8 turkey bacon strips
  • 2 Tablespoons melted butter, divided
  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 Tablespoon dried dill
  1. In a rice cooker, combine brown rice, chicken stock and garlic. (can also cook in a pan, but you may have to adjust the amount of liquid.  For my rice cooker, I added 2 cups rice and filled it to the line labeled 3)  Cook while preparing the chicken.
  2. Preheat oven to 375.  Cut each chicken breast horizontally in half;  sprinkle with salt and pepper (honestly I totally forgot the salt and pepper and it was still wonderful.)
  3. In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, onions and tarragon.  Spread over chicken.  Roll up from a short side.  Wrap each chicken with a bacon strip.  Place seam side down ina greased 9 X 13 pan.  Drizzle with 1 Tablespoon butter.
  4. Cover and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 160.  Broil 4-6 inches from the heat for 2-3 minutes longer or until lightly browned.
  5. When the rice is done, stir in lemon juice, dill, lemon peel, and remaining Tablespoon of butter.
  6. Serve chicken over rice.  Drizzle with pan juices if desired.

Orange curry

Once again, I'm behind in my blog.  I'm starting with this one mostly because I ate the left overs for lunch yesterday and I really liked it.  It didn't get posted when made partly because of time, but partly because none of the kids liked it.  However, both of the adults of the house liked it a lot, and I think I liked it even more as left overs yesterday.  (And that is saying something.)  The original recipe comes from Healthy Meals for less.  I picked this up on Amazon for it's great ratings.  I've only tried a couple of things so far, and both have been good.   Problem is, there aren't a ton or recipes in the book that seem new or really appeal to me.  This one did for a couple of reasons - orange with curry piqued my interest.  Second, the recipe is written to be used with left overs.  I liked that.  I didn't use left overs, I used pre-cooked chicken and frozen veggies, but technically, this could be used to turn left overs into a new meal, and that is always a bonus.
I know I made changes.  This is the worst problem I have when I don't blog immediately.  I doubled to tripled everything except the curry, and cut down on the  water and cornstarch to make the sauce stronger and not as thick so it would cover the noodles.  I'm going to write what I remember of what I did.  :)


  • 1 cup frozen concentrated orange juice
  • 1/2 cup water + 1 Tablespoon
  • 1 Tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons dehydrated onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 cups cooked chicken (could use any type of meat or meat substitute)
  • 1 16 oz. package frozen mixed veggies (could use 2 cups of any steamed veggies)
  • 8 -12 oz egg noodles (this is a total guess -probably closer to the 8.  You could use rice as well)
  1. Cook noodles (or rice) according to package directions.
  2. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the orange juice concentrate, 1/2 cup water, curry powder, salt, onion, and garlic.  In a separate small bowl, combine cornstarch with 1 Tablespoon water.  Mix well.  Slowly whisk the cornstarch mixture into the orange juice mixture.  Continue whisking until it thickens slightly.  (2-3 minutes)
  3. Add chicken and veggies.  Heat through (I just tossed my veggies in frozen, so I had to heat for a couple of minutes.)  Either serve over noodles, or toss the noodles into the mix and stir to combine. (We did the second one.)


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