December 09, 2010

roasted root vegetables

rutabagas were the cheapest vegetable at the store this week and i happened to still have some parsnips from my fall harvest, so this was the perfect recipe to use them both! this recipe is inspired by one i found on p.s. blanching is the key to perfect roasted potatoes, but you probably knew that already.

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4 large beets, peeled, quartered
  • 2 Yukon Gold or new potatoes, quartered
  • 2 carrots, peeled, cut diagonally into 2-inch-long pieces
  • 2 parsnips, peeled, cut diagonally into 2-inch-long pieces
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 rutabaga, peeled, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces (again, i used 2)
  • 1 large onion, peeled, quartered
  • 3 pinches thyme or fresh thyme to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
preheat oven to 400. bring all veggies except the onions to a boil and boil for five minutes in salted water. drain and mix in onions, olive oil, syrup and thyme. spread evenly on a cookie sheet lined with foil (spray it with cooking spray first). be generous with the salt and pepper. roast for 20 minutes, then toss, then roast for another 20 minutes. yum!

November 23, 2010

hot chocolate in a pinch

we woke up this morning to 20 degrees and snow so i was craving hot chocolate to warm my belly. i liked this recipe because it's made with things i regularly have on hand. i got it from

  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/3 cup boiling water
  • 3 1/2 cups milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half cream
  1. Combine the cocoa, sugar and pinch of salt in a saucepan. Blend in the boiling water. Bring this mixture to an easy boil while you stir. Simmer and stir for about 2 minutes. Watch that it doesn't scorch. Stir in 3 1/2 cups of milk and heat until very hot, but do not boil! Remove from heat and add vanilla. Divide between 4 mugs. Add the cream to the mugs of cocoa to cool it to drinking temperature.

November 16, 2010

a winning combination

these are my favorite buttermilk pancakes and the yummy syrup to go with 'em. and they freeze SO well--they remain moist and fluffy even after being warmed in the toaster. and, if you use fat-free canned milk for the syrup, it will get weird and stringy after a couple days.

best buttermilk pancakes

2 cups all-purpose flour

teaspoons baking powder

teaspoon baking soda

teaspoon salt

tablespoons sugar

large eggs , lightly beaten

cups buttermilk

tablespoons unsalted butter , melted

cinnamon syrup (from my sister-in-law, biffy)

1 C white karo syrup
2 C sugar
1/2 C water
2 t cinnamon
1 C evaporated milk

bring the first 4 ingredients to a boil. boil for 2 1/2 minutes, stirring constantly. cool 5 minutes with the lid on and then add evaporated milk.

November 13, 2010

butternut squash lasagna

i found two recipes that each had different interesting elements, so i sort of fused the two to come up with a rather tasty combination. i used a good housekeeping recipe and a michael chiarello recipe from the food network. p.s. it's not low fat.


you'll need to prepare this roasted butternut squash recipe, but adjust it using a squash that's on the smaller side of medium-sized.
12 lasagna noodles, prepared according to package directions
2 T olive oil
1 jumbo onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
1 large bunch swiss chard, coarsely chopped, tough stems removed
shredded parmesan and mozzarella for lasagna top

for the squash mixture:

1/2 t salt
1/4 t nutmeg
3/4 C ricotta cheese
1/2 C shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 C shredded mozzarella cheese
1 egg

for the sauce:
  • 2 tablespoon(s) margarine or butter
  • 1/3 cup(s) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) dried thyme
  • one small clove garlic, minced
  • 4 cup(s) low-fat milk

heat olive oil over medium heat. add the onion and cook about 25 minutes or until golden/caramelized, stirring often.

in the meanwhile, mash the squash with a potato masher, leaving a few chunks. add all ingredients under "for the squash mixture." refrigerate until you're ready to assemble the lasagna.

add the swiss chard to the onion and cook until wilted, about 7 minutes. pull off the heat early and let it finish cooking in the hot pan. cover to keep warm.

heat oven to 375. start preparing the sauce. microwave the milk until nearly hot to save time (in my archaic microwave it took 4 min). melt margarine or butter over medium heat. with wire whisk, stir in flour, pepper, salt, nutmeg, thyme, and garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. gradually whisk in milk and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until sauce boils and thickens slightly. boil 1 minute, stirring.

in a greased 9 x 13, evenly spoon about 1/2 cup white sauce to cover bottom of dish. arrange 4 lasagna noodles over sauce, overlapping to fit. evenly spread all swiss chard mixture over noodles and top with about 1 cup white sauce. arrange 4 lasagna noodles on top, then about 1 cup white sauce and all butternut squash. top with remaining lasagna noodles and remaining white sauce. sprinkle with parmesan and mozzarella cheese.

cover lasagna with foil and bake 30 minutes; remove foil and bake 10 minutes longer or until hot and bubbly and cheese is browned.

November 09, 2010

scrumptious roasted butternut squash

i tried a recipe for butternut squash lasagna and wanted to stop after i tasted it roasted with the fennel and cinnamon--absolutely scrumptious! i'll post the lasagna later.

inspired by michael chiarello of the food network.

1 large butternut squash
1 1/2 T olive oil
1 1/2 t finely chopped fresh sage leaves
2 t fennel and cinnamon spice blend, recipe follows
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper

Using a vegetable peeler, remove the squash's hard shell. Trim about 1/2-inch off the top and bottom ends so you can set each section of the squash flat on a cutting board. Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop the seeds out with a spoon, and coarsely chop the squash into 1/2-inch chunks. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. In a bowl, toss the squash with the oil, sage, spice blend, and 1 teaspoon salt and fresh ground pepper. Spread the squash in a single layer on the baking sheet. Roast the squash in the oven until very soft and beginning to brown, 40 to 50 minutes, stirring once or twice.

fennel and cinnamon spice blend
  • 3 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • Salt

November 07, 2010

homemade kettle corn

we love kettle corn around here. i know many people who do not. well then, this post is not for you. i got this recipe from


1/4 C oil
1/4 C sugar (brown will give you a caramel-ish flavor or white will give you a less strong, sweet flavor)
1/2 C popcorn
salt to taste


put on the oil on medium-high in a heavy-bottomed, large pot. throw three kernels in there. when all three of the kernels pop, the oil is ready. quickly stir in the sugar and then the popcorn and put the lid on. let the pot sit on the heat for 3 seconds, then lift it off and shake for 3 seconds (this will keep the sugar from burning). alternate sit/shake until the popping starts to slow down. pull off the heat and sprinkle with desired amount of salt and shake vigorously. pour into a large bowl and stir periodically until it cools to prevent clumping. add more salt if necessary. enjoy!

November 01, 2010

roasted eggplant and zucchini lasagna rolls

i found the recipe here. the recipe calls for serving them with a pumpkin bechamel, but i tried it and didn't get it--the flavors didn't go well at all in my mind. so we just used traditional marinara. thumbs up all around. plus it was a sneaky way to use eggplant which i love, but no one else in the family really cares for. they didn't even notice.

  • 6-8 whole wheat lasagna noodles
  • 2 cups eggplant, peeled and cubed
  • 2 cups zucchini, cubed
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano cheese, grated and divided
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 3/4 cup lowfat cottage cheese
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon milk

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Cook the lasagna noodles according to the package directions, drain and transfer to a damp dish towel.

Spread the cubed eggplant and zucchini on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt. Use your fingers to quickly mix the ingredients on the pan to evenly coat with the oil. Roast in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes, turning once.

Meanwhile, prepare two shallow dishes with the ingredients for breading the lasagna rolls. In the first dish, whisk the eggs with 1 tablespoon of milk. In the second dish, combine 1/4 cup of the parmigiano reggiano cheese and the panko bread crumbs.

Prepare another baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Reduce the oven temperature to 425°F.

In a mixing bowl, combine 1/4 cup of parmigiano reggiano cheese, mozzarella cheese, and cottage cheese. Once the eggplant and zucchini mixture has cooled, add to the cheese mixture, stirring to combine. Cut the lasagna noodles in half. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of the cheese mixture onto the end of each noodle half. Roll the noodle around the mixture and place seam down.

Dip each lasagna roll first in the egg mixture and then in the panko breadcrumbs and place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, until the rolls are golden and crispy.

October 31, 2010

butternut squash soup

i was so flattered today to get an email from a friend who remembered eating this soup at my house a year ago and was asking for the recipe. from this i am assuming it's worthy enough to share here.

disclaimer: i've always sort of just thrown stuff in on the fly, so this is my first attempt at actually writing a real recipe down. so please forgive me if you find yourself needing to improvise...but i will do my best.


1 large butternut squash or 1/2 butternut squash and 1/2 uchiki kuri squash*
4ish C chicken stock (i usually like to do a mix of canned and cubed)
2 pinches of each of the following: parsley, thyme, marjoram, oregano
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
ginger to taste
brown sugar to taste

*also called red kuri squash. this squash adds an indescribable, amazingly yummy taste that really makes regular butternut squash just that much more yummy. last year i found these squash at fred meyer.


i've cooked the squash two different ways in the past.** if you're pressed for time, just cut 'em up and steam them...this way you don't have to skin them. but if you've got the time, take the time to skin them and cube them, then toss with a tad bit of olive oil and brown sugar and roast on 400 for about 20-30 minutes. (you can always roast them on one day, refrigerate and make the soup the next day.)

next, throw the cooked squash in a pot with the chicken stock and bring to a boil. take it down to a simmer and add the herbs and salt and pepper. also, add the ginger here if you'd like to add some heat to your soup. if not, wait and add the ginger later. simmer for as long as you'd like the flavors to steep. i normally go for about a half hour.

next, take out the blender. puree in batches until you've got a pretty thick, yet still soupy, soup. (take out the bay leaf first.) i usually find that inevitably there's a little bit of liquid left in the pot that i just discard. mix in the ginger now, if you haven't already and add some brown sugar to taste.

ladle into bowls. swirl about a tablespoon of cream on top and sprinkle with nutmeg. voila! enjoy.

**i actually tried something different and this is the way both i and my husband prefer it. i roasted one half butternut squash and one half uchiki kuri squash using this recipe. then i followed the above recipe, except i omitted the ginger, nutmeg and cream.

September 30, 2010

my favorite pie crust

i got this from everyday food magazine. i use salted butter and am a huge believer in the cooling in the fridge part.

Makes 1 single crust

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for work surface
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons ice water
  1. In a large bowl, using a pastry blender, combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter, and cut in with pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal, with just a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining.
  2. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons ice water, and continue to work dough with pastry blender until crumbly but holds together when squeezed with fingers (if needed, add up to 2 tablespoons more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time). Do not overwork.
  3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface; form into a 3/4-inch-thick disk. Wrap tightly in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour. (Or wrap in plastic, place in a resealable plastic bag, and freeze up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before rolling.)

sweet potato and gruyere turnovers

if you're looking for something out-of-the-ordinary, this is definitely for you. at first kris and i didn't know what to think about it, but the more we ate, the more we liked it. a lot.

a few things about the recipe: 1) gruyere is a little over the top expensive here right now, so i decided to use jarlsberg instead. this tasted great, except that i decided at the last minute to double the batch and so i didn't quite have enough of the cheese. this would have enhanced the flavor quite a bit more.

2) while it was all very good, i wanted it to be fantastic. i think when i make it again, i'll add some baked apples sprinkled with a little bit of nutmeg. i really think this will bump it up to the fantastic notch.

3) the recipe doesn't call for cooking the sweet potatoes first. they got cooked just fine from being in the oven, but i think i would have liked them more done. the consistency changes quite a bit when they're more done. so when i make it next i'll cook the sweet potatoes a day in advance and then shred the cooked potatoes.

4) the recipe calls for buying refrigerated pie crusts. wha? i just used my favorite pie crust recipe which i'll add as it's own post to make it easier.

okay, finally ready for the recipe? sheesh!

i got it from real simple, by the way.



  1. Heat oven to 400° F. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until beginning to soften, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the chard and cook, stirring, until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and fold in the sweet potato, Gruyère, and thyme; season with ¾ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Spread the vegetable mixture on a rimmed baking sheet and let cool for 10 minutes.
  2. Dividing evenly, spoon the sweet potato mixture (about ½ cup) on one side of each half-circle of piecrust, leaving a ½-inch border. Dot the borders with water, fold the dough over to form a quarter-circle, and press firmly to seal; crimp, if desired. Cut 3 slits in each turnover.
  3. Transfer the pies to a parchment-lined baking sheet, brush with the egg, and bake until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve with the salad, if desired.

September 29, 2010

Kitchen Sink Quesadillas

I made these for the first time last night, from my sister's recipe. They turned out delish! The macerated red onion really brings all the flavors together like a jazz ensemble from Ratatouille!

2 T. lime juice
2 T. olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 red onion, chopped (or one small)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can corn, rinsed and drained (or even better, the equivalent amount of frozen roasted corn from Trader Joe's)
1 scoop of jarred salsa
shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese
Flour Tortillas
One head Romaine lettuce, chopped
Optional: Cilantro

Mix the lime juice, olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper together. Add chopped red onion. Let sit.
Mix together black beans, corn and salsa.
In a non-stick frying pan, (spray with Pam while cool) layer a tortilla, some cheese, the bean filling, more cheese, and another tortilla. Flip like a pancake when the cheese has melted the tortillas together, so that it gets brown on both sides.
Cut the quesadilla into wedges, serve to the children.
For adults: Toss the romaine lettuce (plus cilantro) with the macerated onion mixture. Top a queso wedge with salad, and enjoy like jam on toast!

September 28, 2010

oatmeal cake

my friend brought this amazingly yummy cake to a party and i couldn't get i asked her for the recipe. i'm not usually a cake person, but this one changes my mind. thanks, debbie!

Oatmeal Cake

1c. quick oatmeal
1 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 c. boiling water
1 teasp. baking soda
1/2 c. butter or margarine
1 teasp. nutmeg
1 c. sugar
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 teasp. salt
2 eggs

Pour boiling water over oats in a small bowl and mix well. Set aside. In a
large mixing bowl, cream butter with all the sugar. Add eggs and mix well. Stir
in oats. Add dry ingredients and stir till everything is combined. Pour into a
lightly greased and floured 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25- 30 minutes.
It should be a little moist in the center. (After putting topping on, the total
baking time will be about 35 to 40 minutes.)

Topping (Note: Start preparing the topping about 12-15 minutes before cake is

6 Tablespoons butter
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. sugar
1 c. coconut
1 c. chopped pecans or walnuts
1/4 c. evaporated milk

Melt butter in small saucepan. Add remaining ingredients and heat till bubbly.
(Sugar should be dissolved.) Stir in 1/4 teaspoon vanilla. Remove cake from oven
and pour topping over hot cake. Put back in the oven for about 5 to 10 minutes
until the topping is golden brown. If pressed for time, you can put in under the
broiler for 3 or 4 minutes if you watch it very carefully.

September 22, 2010

whole wheat pear bread

i just tried this out of the blue and it was yummy, thus i am putting it on the site. i added a little more shortening than it called for because it wasn't creaming properly and then i added a couple handfuls of craisins and used pecans instead of walnuts. (who needs walnuts, anyway?) i got it from

2-3 fresh Bartlett pears
2 tbsp. shortening
2/3 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. honey
1 tsp. grated lemon peel
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1/3 c. water
1 egg, beaten
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cloves
1 c. chopped walnuts

Core pears, but do not peel. Cut slices from one and reserve to decorate top. Dice remaining pears to measure 1 cup. In mixing bowl cream shortening and brown sugar. Add honey, grated lemon peel, lemon juice, water and beaten egg. Mix well.

Sift dry ingredients together and add to liquid mixture. Stir just to moisten dry ingredients. fold in nuts and diced pears. Turn into greased 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. Arrange reserved pear slices on top. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until bread tests done. Let stand in pan 10 minutes. Turn out onto wire rack to cool. Wrap in foil or plastic wrap and store overnight before slicing. Makes 1 loaf.

August 12, 2010

flawless french bread

so, i've made neither french bread, nor sourdough, but i tried my hand at both today. while the bread tasted in no way sour, it produced some rather flawless french bread. i'll keep trying on the sour part...

i found the recipe at

Active Time: 25 Minutes
Total Time: 109 Hours 50 Minutes
Yield: Makes 2 loaves (15 servings each)
Sourdough gets its tangy flavor from a slightly fermented starter. It's the namesake ingredient in the famous bread from San Francisco and can also be used in pancakes, muffins, and other yeast breads. To prepare the starter, you'll need to begin 5-10 days in advance of baking.
For the Sourdough Starter:
1 package active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups lukewarm water (105-115 degrees F)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar or honey
For the Bread:
1 cup sourdough starter, above
5 1/2-6 cups all-purpose flour
2 packages active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups warm water (120-130 degrees F)
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon water
Sourdough French Bread Recipe at


In a large mixing bowl soften yeast in 1/2 cup of the lukewarm water. Stir in the remaining water, flour, and sugar or honey. Stir till smooth. Cover the bowl with 100 percent cotton cheesecloth. Let stand at room temperature (75-85 degrees) for 5-10 days, stirring 2-3 times each day, or till the mixture has a sour, fermented aroma. (Fermentation time depends upon the room temperature. A warmer room hastens fermentation.) When fermented, transfer sourdough starter to a 1-quart jar or plastic container. Loosely cover and refrigerate. If starter isn’t used within 10 days, stir in 1 teaspoon sugar or honey. Repeat every 10 days till used (the starter can be kept indefinitely). To use starter, bring desired amount to room temperature. For every cup used, stir 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, 3/4 cup water, and 1 teaspoon sugar or honey into the remaining amount. Cover and let stand at room temperature for at least 1 day, or till bubbly. Then refrigerate for later use.

Bring 1 cup sourdough starter to room temperature (about 1 hour). In a large mixing bowl combine 2 1/2 cups of the flour, the yeast, and salt. Add the 1 1/2 cups warm water and the sourdough starter. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping bowl constantly. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.

On a lightly floured surface, knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (8-10 minutes total). Shape into a ball. Place in a lightly greased bowl; turn once. Cover and let rise in a warm place till double (about 1 hour).

Punch dough down. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Lightly grease a large baking sheet. Sprinkle with cornmeal. Roll each half of dough into a 15x10-inch rectangle. Roll up, starting from a long side. Moisten edge with water and seal. Taper ends. Place, seam-side down, on the prepared baking sheet. Cover and let rise in a warm place till nearly double (35-45 minutes).

Place an ovenproof ceramic or heavy-duty glass baking dish filled with 1 inch of water on the lowest rack of the oven. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Let the water steam the oven while the bread rises.

Combine egg yolk and water. Brush dough with egg wash. With a very sharp knife or single-edge razor blade, make 4-5 diagonal cuts about 1/4 inch deep across top of each loaf. Place baking sheet with bread on rack above pan of water. Lower oven temperature to 375 degrees; bake for 30-35 minutes, or till bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped. (If necessary, cover loosely with foil the last 15 minutes to prevent overbrowning.) Remove bread from baking sheet; cool on a rack.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Owen. All rights reserved.

August 11, 2010

thermos-ready smoothie

found it at i threw in some handfuls of spinach and a few tablespoons of flaxseed meal for good measure. also, i used cran-apple since i didn't have just plain apple juice. my kids loved it and it was hardy enough with a piece of toast to keep 'em full til lunch.

  • 1 cup(s) frozen mixed berries
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/2 cup(s) apple juice
  • 1/4 cup(s) silken tofu


  1. Combine berries, banana, apple juice and tofu in a blender; blend until smooth.

almond-honey power bar

for a while i've been looking for a granola bar that's jam-packed, but that also doesn't have any oil or butter....that also holds its shape. i found a recipe that has a really great flavor, but the bars just crumble into your hands.

i found this recipe at the bars stay together and the flavor is good. the turbinado sugar, though...i'm not sure if it melted properly or what, but there's a little bit of a crunch from that. anyway, for right now it's a keeper. i'll probably tweak it with a few different dried fruits and things next time i make them.

  • 1 cup(s) old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup(s) slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup(s) sunflower seeds
  • 1 tablespoon(s) flaxseeds, preferably golden
  • 1 tablespoon(s) sesame seeds
  • 1 cup(s) unsweetened whole-grain puffed cereal (see Tips & Techniques)
  • 1/3 cup(s) currants
  • 1/3 cup(s) chopped dried apricots
  • 1/3 cup(s) chopped golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup(s) creamy almond butter (see Tips)
  • 1/4 cup(s) turbinado sugar (see Tips)
  • 1/4 cup(s) honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon(s) salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat an 8-inch-square pan with cooking spray.
  2. Spread oats, almonds, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, and sesame seeds on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Bake until the oats are lightly toasted and the nuts are fragrant, shaking the pan halfway through, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Add cereal, currants, apricots, and raisins; toss to combine.
  3. Combine almond butter, sugar, honey, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan. Heat over medium-low, stirring frequently, until the mixture bubbles lightly, 2 to 5 minutes.
  4. Immediately pour the almond butter mixture over the dry ingredients and mix with a spoon or spatula until no dry spots remain. Transfer to the prepared pan. Lightly coat your hands with cooking spray and press the mixture down firmly to make an even layer (wait until the mixture cools slightly if necessary). Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes; cut into 8 bars.

Tips & Techniques

Ingredient notes: For this recipe, we like unsweetened puffed multigrain cereal, such as Kashi's 7 Whole Grain Puffs. Almond butter can be found at natural-foods stores and large supermarkets, near the peanut butter. Turbinado sugar is steam-cleaned raw cane sugar. It's coarse-grained and light brown in color, with a slight molasses flavor. Find it in the natural-foods section of large supermarkets or at natural-foods stores.

August 08, 2010

asian salad dressing

i wanted to throw an asian salad together today and really liked the dressing i found on i mixed it with about a half a head of green cabbage, a fourth a head of red cabbage, a tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds and a couple handfuls of ginger-spiced wonton strips.

i didn't have any almonds, but i would have added toasted almonds if i had them. i guess you could add chicken and even mandrain oranges if you wanted.


  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil (optional)--i don't think it's optional, actually
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar

August 05, 2010

chicken nuggets--more like tender chicken

i try a homemade chicken nuggets recipe every once a while because i like the idea of making a more healthy version of them at home since my kiddos like them so much. so far i haven't really found one...and this isn't really a chicken nugget recipe, but it made some super yummy and tender chicken. i found it on i flipped them over after they had cooked about half the time.

Baked Chicken Nuggets


  • 3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  2. Cut chicken breasts into 1 1/2 inch size pieces. In a medium bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, cheese, salt, thyme and basil. Mix well. Put melted butter/margarine in a bowl or dish for dipping.
  3. Dip chicken pieces into the melted butter/margarine first, then coat with the breadcrumb mixture. Place well coated chicken pieces on a lightly greased cookie sheet in a single layer, and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.

Chicken Salad Sandwiches

chicken (either canned or frozen) cook & dice/shred
celery- dice/chop
basil- several good shakes
rosemary- 1/2 tsp
pepper- dash
salt- 1/2 tsp
grapes- seedless, cut in half, optional

Ok, so I basically eyeball this recipe. I usually do 1/2-1 chicken breast per adult. And then I usually do 1 stalk of celery for every 3 breasts used. I use a spatula to add the mayo and start small and keep adding until I like the consistency. I add the spices at the beginning so that they get blended well....and I add the grapes last. So if I make this the day before I put the grapes in a sandwich bag and then add them when I'm ready to start putting the mixture on bread or croissants. Also, if you're going to do croissants, only slice them 2/3 of the way through---if you completely slice them in half then the chicken and grapes fall out too easily when you're trying to eat it. I learned that the hard way!

May 15, 2010

3 for 1 Meal Meat

As distasteful as the title sounds, this is actually awesome for future fast dinners. Make pulled pork sandwiches, enchiladas, and chili burros from 1 roast. (This can be done from a pork or beef roast.)

Start by making pulled pork sandwiches:

1 rump roast or shoulder roast - 5-8 lbs
1 bottle of BBQ or seasoning sauce (I used Lawry's baja chipotle marinade)
1 8-oz can of tomato sauce

Trim the fat from the roast. Put it in the slow cooker for 7 hours, along with most of the bottle of marinade. After 7 hours take the roast out, and cut it off the bone if necessary (my bone just fell out, the meat was so tender) and use 2 forks to shred the meat. You can also trim/remove any fatty bits at this time. Return it all to the slow cooker, add the tomato sauce to thicken the juices a bit. Cook it 30-60 minutes more.

Serve as pulled pork sandwiches by slicing ciabatta or rolls in half, and slathering with the meat.

Then freeze any meat that you don't want to use as pulled pork sandwich leftovers. Before freezing divide it into 2-3 containers for easy thaw out.

For enchiladas:

1 can of enchilada sauce
2 Tablespoons chili powder
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup flour
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
diced onion or dried onion
1 container frozen meat left over from pulled pork sandwiches
corn tortillas
grated cheese

Heat a saucepan to medium. Add the olive oil. When the olive oil is warm, add the chili powder. Toast the chili powder in the oil, but don't burn it. You should be able to smell a difference between untoasted and toasted, it will become more savory and rich. When it smells toasted, add the flour (this prevents it from burning). Mix it all together, and then dump in the tomato sauce. Fill the can with water and add, twice. Then add the seasonings. I usually put several shakes of each into the sauce. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil. The sauce will thicken. After stirring during the boil for 2 minutes, turn it down and let it simmer for 20 minutes with the lid partially on.

To compile you can either do 2 things: add 1/2 cup olive oil to a frying pan and soft-fry the tortillas for easy roll up, or make a casserole. To soft fry the tortillas, put them in hot oil for about a minute (not long enough to turn hard like tostadas) and transfer to a dish with 1/4 cup sauce on the bottom. Add a spoonful of meat, a spoonful of sauce, some cheese, and roll. Continue until the pan is full or you are out of meat. Cover the tops with sauce, cheese, and green onion if you like. Bake for 15 minutes uncovered at 325.

For the casserole: Use a pizza cutter to slice the corn tortillas, straight out of the package, into 1.5 inch strips. Put some sauce in the bottom of your dish, and layer the tortilla slices on top of it. Then repeat layers of sauce, meat, cheese, tortilla until the dish is full or you are out of meat. Make sure the top has sauce, cheese, and chopped green onion if desired. Bake, covered, at 325 for 40 minutes.

For chili burros:

1 container frozen meat left over from pulled pork sandwiches
flour tortillas
grated cheese,
can diced tomato
chopped onion
chopped bellpepper
can of green chilies

Heat the meat, tomato, onion, bellpepper, and green chilies up together on the stove. If you think it needs thickening, add some tomato sauce. When it is all hot and mixed together compile the burros:
On an open tortilla put a spoonful of the mixture down the middle. Sprinkle with cheese. Roll up.

Serve with lettuce, tomato, sour cream, guacamole on top.

May 03, 2010

Lion House Fruit Dip

Lately I can't eat anything but fruit.  This dip is fantabulous and helps the rest of my family force down as much fruit as I do.  It's a really pretty light pink color.  It would be lovely at a shower or for a special breakfast.

Lion House Fruit Dip
8 oz strawberry cream cheese spread
7 oz jar marshmallow cream
1 Tbsp orange juice
1 Tbsp lemon juice (sometimes I just mix in a few Tbsp of lemon yogurt)

In a mixing bowl, beat together all ingredients until smooth.  Refrigerate before serving with fresh fruit.  Makes about 2 cups.  Our favorite fruits are sliced apples, pears, oranges, peaches, pineapple, strawberries, grapes, and raspberries.

April 30, 2010

Lemon (Heavenly) Pasta!

Lemon Cream Pasta with Chicken
adapted from via Clouse Cousins Cookin’

Serves 4-6

3 cups shredded or cubed Lemon Garlic Chicken (see recipe below for chicken)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 (16 ounce) package tube pasta (I used rigatoni)
2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded

In a large saucepan, season the chicken broth with the garlic powder and pepper. Bring to a boil and add lemon juice and pasta. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until all liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes.

Stir chicken into cooked pasta, along with the cream, parmesan cheese and lemon zest. Cook, stirring, over low heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Stir thoroughly before serving.


Lemon and Garlic Grilled Chicken
from Erin W.

Juice of 1 lemon, approximately 3 tablespoons
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic, about 2 medium cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 pound chicken breasts (I usually cut really thick chicken breasts down to thin them out and make the pieces a little smaller so they absorb the marinade better)

Combine all marinade ingredients. Place chicken in a ziploc bag and pour marinade over chicken. Seal bag and place in fridge overnight. Grill (or cook in frying pan). Serve with sides of your choice or cut into bite sized pieces and add to desired recipe (I’ll be sharing a few with you soon). Note: If you cut your chicken into smaller, bite-sized pieces and then marinate it, you can get away with only letting it marinate for 5 or 6 hours instead of overnight.

April 29, 2010

best bread sticks

a while back, a few (or maybe a lot) of us would get together once a week and have dinner together. we would rotate houses/hosts so we got to eat a variety of really good food. i always hoped this family would make these bread sticks because they are my favorite. i was so happy they were willing to share their recipe. thanks, angie!

mix 1 1/2 C warm water, 1 T yeast and 1 T sugar and let it bubble up good.

add 4ish C flour, 1/3 C sugar and 1 t salt and knead till you've got good dough* and let rise 20ish minutes. (the more you let them rise, the fluffier they'll be.)

you can shape 'em however you want. i always roll the dough out and cut them into strips. then i put some butter/margarine and garlic salt on them. i'm sure parmesan cheese and whatever other yumminess you can conjure up would be delightful as well. it's up to you and your fluffiness preference if you want to let them rise after this step or not.

bake on 400 til golden, about 10 minutes.

*i've finally figured out that around here, you have to put less flour in than you think for bread or it will be dry and gross. so if it's a little bit sticky, that will be perfect and you can just use extra flour when you roll out and/or shape.

April 23, 2010

Potato Flakes Recipe 2: Crispy Potato Flakes Pork Chops

2/3 cup potato flakes, instant
1 egg, beaten
3 tablespoon milk
4 medium pork chops
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray pan with nonstick spray.

Wash pork chops; set aside.

Beat egg and milk together. Place potato flakes in shakable container. Dip pork chops in egg mixture, then into potato flakes. Lay in pan. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle paprika on top to brown. Bake approximately 45 minutes or until done.

**Cover for first 1/2 of baking time and then take the cover off. Leaving it on the whole time will make it too soggy; leaving it uncovered the whole time will make the meat tough.

April 03, 2010

Potato Flakes Recipe 1: cinnamon rolls

I decided to take a page out of Jamie's book and let you all know which new recipes I am trying solely for the sake of using potato flakes. This recipe turned out amazing well. Like AMAZINGLY well. Yes, I would even put them on par with Geraldine's cinnamon rolls.
Some differences between the two recipes:
  1. This recipe is not quite as sweet. Personally, I liked this better because I didn't feel overloaded with sugar
  2. The flavor is different than Geraldine's...but not in a bad way. I liked it just as much if not better but in a different way.

I used raisins this time and I've never used raisins in Geraldine's maybe that changed some flavor action for me too. Also, I substituted unsalted butter for the shortening. Other than that...I followed the recipe exactly!

Source: Southern Living Magazine; November, 1999

1/2 cup potato flakes
1 cup water
2 envelopes dry yeast
2 cups warm water
9 1/2 to 10 cups flour
5 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup sugar
1 cup shortening, melted
1 Tbsp. salt
1/2 cup butter softened
1 1/3 cups brown sugar
4 tsp. cinammon
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
Glaze (powdered sugar mixed with a small amount of milk or water)

Stir together potato flakes and one cup water; microwave (high) three minutes, stir.

Combine yeast and two cups warm water; let stand five minutes.

Combine the mashed potato mixture, four cups flour, eggs, sugar, shortening, and salt in very large bowl. Stir in yeast mixture until blended. Gradually stir in remaining 5 1/2 to 6 cups flour until soft dough forms. Cover and let rise in warm place one hour or until doubled.

Divide dough in half. Roll each portion into an 18x15-inch rectangle Spread each with half of butter. Sprinkle each rectangle with 2/3 cup brown sugar, 2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 cup pecans and, if desired, raisins.

Roll up, starting at long end. Cut each roll into 12 slices (for huge rolls). Put into two 13x9-inch pans. Cover and let rise 30 minutes or until doubled.

Bake in a preheated 375 degree F oven for 25 minutes or until golden. Cool.

Drizzle with glaze.

Unbaked rolls may be frozen. Thaw 8 hours in fridge before baking.

(I froze 6 of my rolls .... I thawed out one of the rolls on the pan I was going to bake it on, and let it thaw out on the counter overnight and in the morning it was doubled in size---it turned out great)

***Instead of rolling it out on flour, I spread a little melted butter on the counter and rubbed it around with my hands. Then I rubbed it on the rolling pin and all over my hands. The dough didn't stick to ANYTHING and it was great. :-) ***

April 02, 2010

Danish Hotcakes

First off, sorry Jamie that it has taken me SO long to post this. I am so behind with my to-do lists that it is depressing. :-)

This is the recipe for the traditional breakfast that my family makes on Christmas, New Years, and Conference Sundays. I know this goes as far back as my great-grandpa making them, but I don't know if it goes back further than that.

Put in a large bowl:
2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. nutmeg

4 1/3 cups milk. Mix lumps out with wire whip.
3 eggs - beat eggs one at a time into batter (really does make a difference!)

Grease pan...if it sticks, turn up temperature a little. (We use melted shortening to grease the pan. Grease pan before cooking each hotcake. Stovetop should be on medium (about a 5.)

Each scoop of batter is about 1/2 cup. Pour batter on hot pan and swirl pan around to get batter evenly across pan.

This is how we prepare them once they are cooked: (now mind you, these are super yummy, not super healthy!) Spread hotcake with butter, sprinkle with sugar, and then pour on half and half cream...spread around. Roll up hotcake, cut, and enjoy.

That is the recipe. Here are the hints:
*The batter is really thin...the hotcakes are thin like crepes.
*We use a special pan (cast iron), but in Australia we did them in a frying pan and that worked pretty well. I haven't tried it, but I am thinking that you could also use a crepe maker, but the hotcakes would be a little smaller.
*Flip the hotcakes when there are little holes forming on the top...a long thin spatula is best. They flip best if you go around the outside edges with spatula first so the sides don't stick.
*It isn't as confusing as I am making it out to be...there is just kind of a technique. If you have any questions, let me know.

We May Have a Winner

So everytime I make banana bread (and it seems like it is quite often because of ripe bananas on my counter), I try a new recipe...not that any of them taste THAT different, but I have wanted one that I really, really liked. Yesterday I came across this one and we are loving it. (I can't remember the website I got it from, so sorry that I can't credit the right person.) I didn't put in the nuts, because we are a no-nut household, but we did add the chocolate chips, and my husband loved it. I halfed the recipe because I only had 3 ripe bananas, but now I wish I had had 6!


1 cup shortening (I used butter)
2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
6 very ripe bananas, mashed
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)


1-Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease two 9x5 loaf pans (after I greased the pan, I sprinkled inside with cinn/sugar.

2-In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition. Stir in the mayonnaise and bananas. Stir together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Blend the flour mixture into the banana mixture; stir just enough to evenly combine. Fold in the chocolate chips and walnuts.

3-Bake at 350 until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean (approx. 50-75 min.) Cool loaf in the pan for 20 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

March 29, 2010

Potato Flakes, anyone?

I recently inherited a huge 10 lb bag of potato flakes. I have no idea how to use them, or what I should make with them. How do you use potato flakes?

March 23, 2010

oat bran-applesauce muffins

from martha stewart magazine. this takes more time than it seems like it should, so be prepared to take a little more time to make them. by the way, my kids LOVED them!

2 C unsweetened applesauce
2 oz dates, pitted and chopped (1/2 C)
1 C wheat bran
1/2 C low-fat buttermilk
1 large egg
2 T honey
3/4 t grated fresh ginger
1/2 t vanilla extract
1/2 C plus 2T all-purpose flour
2 T flaxseed meal
1 1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t ground allspice
1/4 C plus 1 T old-fashioned oats (i used quick)

1. preheat oven to 375. coat muffin tin with cooking spray. place applesauce and dates in a medium saucepan. cook over medium heat, stirring often, until mixture is reduced to 1 1/4 C, 15-20 minutes. spread in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet, and let cool completely. (i got impatient and didn't let it cool completely and kept it in the pan and it was fine.)

2. transfer to a large bowl, and stire in bran, buttermilk, egg, honey, ginger and vanilla. let stand for 10 minutes.

3. meanwhile, whisk together flour, flaxseed, baking soda, salt, allspice, and 1/4 C oats. stir into bran mixture.

4. spoon batter into prepared tins, filling to the brims. sprinkle remaining 1 T oats over muffins. bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 20 minutes. remove immediately and place on wire racks.

roasted tomato-garlic soup

from the back of the barilla orzo box. the pesto in this recipe is necessary. also, i added the part about the bread.

1 small carton pesto (or make your own, which would be really expensive this time of year.)
1 jar barilla roasted garlic and onion sauce
3 C chicken broth
2 T olive oil
1/2 t finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 T finely chopped fresh thyme
1/2 C barilla orzo

combine sauce, broth, oil, rosemary and thyme in small pot; bring to a boil. stir in orzo; cook 9 minutes. serve with 2 T dollops of pesto and some torn pieces of toasted garlic bread.

*use 1/4 t dried herbs to substitute for fresh.

light italian wedding soup

from everyday food magazine. i love the turkey meatballs that are in this recipe. i use them for spaghetti and meatballs and also for meatball sandwiches. also, i had never had escarole before and really liked it.

turkey meatballs

3 slices whole wheat bread
1/4 C whole milk
1 1/2 lbs ground turkey
3 scallions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T parsley (fresh)
1 large egg

process bread in food processor. mix bread and milk and let sit 5 minutes. put everything else in bowl, bread last, plus 1 1/2 t salt and 1/2 t pepper. make about 2 T sized balls.


1 T olive oil
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 cans (14.5 oz) chicken broth
2 cans (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes in juice
2 head escarole (2 lbs), cored, trimmed and coarsely chopped.

1. in a large pot, heat oil over medium. cook onion, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3-4 minutes. add broth and tomatoes (with juice); bring to a simmer. add meatballs; cook, without stirring, until meatballs float to surface, about 5 minutes.

2. add as much escarole to pot as will fit. cook, gradually adding remaining escarole, until wilted and meatballs are cooked through, about 5 minutes more. thin soup with water if desired; season with salt and pepper. serve soup sprinkled with parmesan.

loaded sweet potato skins

from everyday food magazine. just something different to do with yams. and they even work as finger food for a party appetizer.

4 medium sweet potatoes (the skinnier the better), scrubbed and patted dry
1 T olive oil
salt and pepper
1/4 C low-fat buttermilk
1/4 t (or more) paprika, plus more for garnish
4 slices bacon
1/4 C reduced-fat sour cream
1 scallion, sliced for garnish

1. preheat over to 450. on a rimmed baking sheet, rub sweet potatoes with oil; season with salt and pepper. baked until tender, about 40 minutes. let cool on sheet (keep oven on).

2. halve sweet potatoes lengthwise; scoop out 1/3 of the flesh from each half into a medium bowl. add buttermilk and paprika. mash until smooth; season with salt and pepper. stuff sweet potato skins with filling.

3. arrange sweet potato skins on sheet; bake until lightly browned around the edges, about 15 minutes.

4. meanwhile, cook bacon until crisp (i use the microwave) and crumble. stir together sour cream and 2 T water; drizzle over sweet potato skins. garnish with bacon, paprika and scallion. cut in half to serve.

currant and almond pilaf

from everyday food magazine

in a small saucepan, melt 1 T butter over medium. add 1 C long-grain white rice. cook, stirring, until lightly toasted, about 5 minutes. add 1 1/2 C water or chicken broth and bring to a boil. reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. remove pan from heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes. stir in 1/4 C currants and 2 T toasted sliced almonds. season with coarse salt and ground pepper.

March 18, 2010

Irish Soda Bread

I made this last night as an experiment and it turned out wonderful! Totally yummy. I'm going to make it again for Easter. I took the recipe from here and slightly changed a few things, like adding the wheat flour and decreasing the sugar (actually, when I made it I omitted the sugar entirely and it still turned out great but probably not as sweet as the original recipe).

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup wheat flour
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pat of butter, melted
  • 1 Tablespoon buttermilk
Mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and butter. Stir in 1 cup of buttermilk and egg. Turn dough out onto a *lightly floured surface and knead slightly. Form dough into a round and place on a greased baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine melted butter with a tablespoon of buttermilk; brush loaf with this mixture. ^Use a sharp knife to cut an 'X' into the top of the loaf.

Bake at 375 for 45-50 minutes
or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. While baking, continue to brush with the butter/buttermilk mixture for a great crust.

*The loaf may seem dry when you mix it together and knead it,
but brushing it with that initial application of milk and butter really is enough moisture for the bread.

^I cut an 'X' across the entire top of the loaf and when it baked the X expanded next time I'm going to cut the X in the center of the top, making sure it doesn't go all the way to the edges.

March 03, 2010

veggie experiment: days 29 and 30


i did carrot soup (link from my blog) and bean and cabbage soup (recipe below).

for the carrot soup this time around, i happened to have some fresh ginger root so i minced some up and added at the same time i added the garlic. this gave the soup some welcomed heat. the cabbage soup recipe is an accelerated adaption from "the food of france" cookbook.

bean and cabbage soup

1 T butter
1 large carrot, sliced
1 potato, cubed
a couple shakes of garlic powder
1 can chicken stock
1 cup of water w/ stock flavoring in it
1/2 can white beans
some dried parsley, thyme, marjoram and oregano
2 bay leaves
1/4 of a cabbage, shredded

saute the potato and carrot in the butter and garlic powder. then add the liquid and bring to a boil. bring down to simmer and add beans and herbs and cover. stew as long as you want to get the flavors going. i only had about 20 minutes and that ended up tasting fine. add the cabbage and cook, uncovered, until the cabbage gets just tender. salt and pepper to taste.

March 01, 2010

veggie experiment: day 28

Spicy Black Bean Burgers
Adapted from "Recipe of the Week: Burgers" by Sally Sampson

these are the best non-burger burgers we've yet tried. perfect blend of flavors. i sauteed the scallions and garlic before adding them. also, i broiled them (instead of grilling) for 10 minutes on each side. also, i didn't have any cilantro or fresh basil, but i did have fresh parsley and that worked just fine.


4 cups cooked, rinsed and drained black beans (about 2 ½ 15-ounce cans)
1/2 cup Japanese-style panko breadcrumbs
2 large eggs
4 scallions, both white and green parts, minced
3 tablespoons (a small handful) chopped basil or cilantro, or a combination
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2-2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1-2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Place 2 cups of the black beans in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until chunky.

Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add remaining whole black beans, plus panko, eggs, scallions, fresh herbs, garlic, cumin, oregano and red pepper flakes and mix until well combined.

Using a dough cutter, portion mixture into patties about 1 inch thick. Suggested diameter: 3 inches; otherwise, the patty will be difficult to flip when cooking. KOD extra step that's worth doing: Place patties on a plate or tray and chill for 15 minutes so they can set up.

When ready to cook, remove patties from refrigerator and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place a cast-iron skillet over high heat, without any fat; when it is hot but not smoking, add burgers to dry pan.

Cook for about four minutes on first side or until well seared and with a flipping spatula, turn onto second side and allow to cook for an additional five minutes, over medium heat.

Serve immediately with fixins': Monterey jack, cheddar or queso fresco, lettuce, fresh tomato slice, pico de gallo or jarred salsa, sour cream, avocado. Good on a soft bun or by itself.

Makes four to six burgers.

February 28, 2010

veggie experiment: days 26 and 27


i used the pizza dough recipe from the better homes and gardens cookbook. i made my own sauce from garlic and onion sauteed in olive oil, then added a can of tomato sauce, a generous tablespoon of sugar, and some dried basil and oregano. for toppings i used spinach, mushrooms, olives and fresh tomatoes. i shook some garlic powder and basil over the fresh tomatoes before i baked it.

February 26, 2010

veggie experiment: days 24 and 25

no vegetarian experiment would be complete without giving tofu a whirl. i recently had pad thai at a restaurant and the tofu was better than i've ever tasted. i thought it would be great to learn to fix it like that. well, last night was NOT the night for that.

i used alton brown's recipe from the food network. i might have accidentally poured a little bit too much fish sauce in. that little bit made a huge difference and it was completely inedible. bummer! but the recipe called for marinating the tofu and i didn't like that at all. so at least i learned that much. it was fun to experiment, especially considering my special trip to the vietamese market which was an experience in itself.

in an effort to redeem myself, i made some curry tofu veggie stir-fry. i made some adjustments based on what i had lying around. this was tasty, but since i unknowingly got the wrong (mild) curry powder, it only got one thumb up from the husband. i liked it since i don't like hot. and i learned my lesson with the tofu and it tasted much better.

February 24, 2010

veggie experiment: days 22 and 23

the falafel is from (i broiled them instead of frying them) and the couscous from (adding more of each spice than called for is better). i was surprised i was able to make something taste so authentic--although i'm not sure i shaped them right. anyway, i love the way the house smells now, after cooking them.

sean's falafel with cucumber sauce


1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 egg
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon salt
1 dash pepper
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup dry bread crumbs
oil for frying

1 (6 ounce) container plain yogurt
1/2 cucumber - peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon mayonnaise


In a large bowl mash chickpeas until thick and pasty; don't use a blender, as the consistency will be too thin. In a blender, process onion, parsley and garlic until smooth. Stir into mashed chickpeas.

In a small bowl combine egg, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, cayenne, lemon juice and baking powder. Stir into chickpea mixture along with olive oil. Slowly add bread crumbs until mixture is not sticky but will hold together; add more or less bread crumbs, as needed. Form 8 balls and then flatten into patties.

Heat 1 inch of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry patties in hot oil until brown on both sides.

In a small bowl combine yogurt, cucumber, dill, salt, pepper and mayonnaise. Chill for at least 30 minutes.

spiced couscous salad with vegetables

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder (or 1 clove minced)
1/2 teaspoon ground or grated ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped white or yellow onions
1 large carrot or 2 small carrots, peeled and sliced
1 small yam, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1 zucchini, unpeeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1 celery stalk, sliced
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup chopped green onions
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup couscous

This is a great side dish with an Eastern flavor. Because the pasta is cooked in the vegetable broth, it's also a good way to enjoy cooked vegetables while still getting the nutrients that steaming removes.

With the addition of chopped peanuts or walnuts, and the substitution of water if chicken broth is objectionable, this can be a complete and healthy vegetarian meal.

Heat the olive oil and spices over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add the white onions and sauté until soft, 2-3 minutes. Add the chicken broth, carrots and yam - cover and let steam for 5-6 minutes. Add celery, zucchini, mushrooms and raisins and steam for 3-5 more minutes.

When the vegetables are at the desired tenderness (al dente vegetables add texture to the soft couscous), strain them and reserve 1 cup of the broth/spice liquid. Keep the vegetables warm, and bring the 1 cup of liquid to a boil.

Add the couscous and cover with tin foil for 5 minutes. Uncover, fluff with a fork and mix in the vegetables. Sprinkle the green onions on top for garnish.

February 22, 2010

veggie experiment: days 21 and 22


sometimes i just take a can of black beans and season it with garlic, chili powder/cayenne pepper and onions and serve with the rice separate.

sometimes i cook 1 C rice and then mix in 2 cans refried beans, 1 can black beans and a half a can of corn.

sometimes i saute the rice in oil til brown and then boil with tomato bouillon and mix in fresh cilantro leaves.

or sometimes i'll do any or all combinations above and serve with the normal tortilla goodies like lettuce, tomato, olives, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, etc.

this time i did 3/4 C white rice and 1/4 C brown rice and just adding that tiny bit of brown rice made it noticeably more filling.

February 18, 2010

veggie experiment: days 19 and 20


lasagna around here has always been vegetarian...and my kids love it. here's what i do:

1 lb lasagna noodles
traditional flavor prego--i just eyeball the amount...maybe 3-4 cups?
1 zucchini, sliced
equal amount mushrooms, sliced
1/2 bunch spinach, chopped
2ish cups part-skim ricotta cheese
one generous fistful of mozzarella (plus more for the very top layer)
1 egg
a couple generous shakes of oregano
salt and pepper

cook noodles per directions, drain and let cool. steam the spinach and press as much water out as you can. saute, steam or boil zucchini and mushrooms together (separate from the spinach). in a bowl, combine cheeses, spinach, egg, oregano and salt and pepper.

in a 9 x 13, start with about a half cup of sauce. sprinkle some of the zucchini and mushrooms over that. then layer noodles, then half the cheese mixture, then the sauce, then more veggies and repeat. finish with a layer of noodles and top with some mozzarella. bake 15 - 20 @ 400 or until bubbly and top is brown.

February 17, 2010

veggie experiment: day 18


here is the lentil soup recipe. i made it in about fifteen minutes today because my lentils were pre-cooked.

for the sandwiches i take yummy bread (really whatever you want is fine) and spread butter/margarine on it. then a healthy dash of garlic salt. then a bunch o' fresh basil leaves (or parsley or spinach--whatever you're feeling like, although basil is best). then tomatoes. then mozzarella (or whatever cheese you're feeling like). then, if you're having the basil w/ mozzarella, splash some balsamic vinegar on top of that. then toast until golden and enjoy.

February 16, 2010

veggie experiment: day 17

long ago, after a failed attempt at making peanut sauce from scratch, i bought a bottle of peanut sauce from trader joe's and then forgot about it. when we moved into this house, i found it again, but then put it in the back of the pantry and there it stayed until a couple of days ago when i was organizing the pantry and found it once more. i finally decided to use it...

and i thought the inside of my mouth was going to disintegrate--it was SO hot!!! (i'm a wimp when it comes to spicy.) but i toughed it out and made my husband proud.


bunch o' veggies. i used carrots, celery, asparagus, zucchini and mushrooms.
peanut sauce.
rice. i did half brown/half white rice since i discovered my basmati rice had gone bad.


heat some olive oil and throw in some garlic and saute until it browns. then add veggies and stir-fry/steam until to desired doneness. pour in the peanut sauce and stir in til warm. serve over rice and put dry-roasted peanuts, cilantro and lime juice on top.

February 14, 2010

veggie experiment: days 15 and 16

CHE BELLA NOTTE PASTA (that's the link)
a family favorite. got it from a woman in california who is a caterer. today i put all called-for vegetarian ingredients in it plus some asparagus, zucchini, mushrooms and pine nuts. served it with salad and rosemary and garlic bread.

veggie experiment: day 14

veggie burger recipe from real simple magazine. much, much better than the veggie burger i usually make. good texture as well. the coleslaw recipe comes from a friend of ours in california who is a chef. super yummy and doesn't involve mayonnaise!

p.s. cilantro for me has been an acquired taste and now i can't get enough of it! i want it on we put lime juice, avocado and cilantro atop the veggie burger. mmmm....



1/4 cup couscous
1 large egg
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 15-ounce can lentils, rinsed
1 medium carrot, coarsely grated
1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
kosher salt and black pepper


In a small bowl, combine the couscous and 1/4 cup hot tap water. Let sit for 5 minutes; fluff with a fork.
In a food processor, puree the egg, sunflower seeds, and 3/4 cup of the lentils until they form a paste; transfer to a bowl. Mix in the carrot, onion, lemon juice, couscous, the remaining lentils, 1/2 teaspoon salt,and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Form the mixture into four 1/2-inch-thick patties. Refrigerate, uncovered, until firm, 20 to 25 minutes.
Heat grill to medium-high. Oil the grill grate. Grill the patties, turning once (do not press or flatten), until charred and heated through, 4 to 5 minutes per side.

Serve on rolls with the desired toppings.


i just cut up the potatoes, coated the cookie sheet with cooking spray and then put the potatoes in and coated them with cooking spray and sprinkled season salt on them and baked them at 425 until brown and crispy.


1 savoy cabbage (i used regular this time), chiffonade
1 radicchio (or purple cabbage works, too), chiffonade
2 carrots, shredded
1/2 bell pepper, julienne
1/2 C scallion, chiffonade
1 T garlic, minced
2 T balsamic vinegar
1 T dijon mustard
1/4 C cilantro, chopped
sugar to taste (or add pineapple)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 C extra virgin olive oil

combine ingredients and toss. adjust seasoning if necessary.

February 13, 2010

veggie experiment: days 12 and 13

feeling lazy

whatever kind of pasta (sometimes i do all whole wheat, or a mixture of whole and regular). favorite pasta sauce (sometimes i just throw together some canned tomatoes, garlic and herbs and sugar to make my own sauce...or i use prego from costco). then i usually steam zucchini and mushrooms to serve over the top.

veggie experiment: day 11

from real simple magazine. i must have done something wrong. all the ingredients sounded like they would produce a good mix. but, it was kind of not at all enjoyable. i even sacrificed cheddar for a week in order to buy the called-for fancy cheese! plus, it made much more than 4 servings and no one wants to eat the leftovers. i still feel like it has potential, so if you happen to try it and it works out, please share with me the secret!


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 cups quick-cooking barley
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 8 cups torn mustard green leaves (from 1 small bunch) or spinach
  • 2 ounces Taleggio or Brie (rind removed), cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan (2 ounces)


  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes.
  2. Add the barley, tomatoes, wine, and 2½ cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the barley is tender, 12 to 15 minutes.
  3. Add the mustard greens, Taleggio, and ¼ cup of the Parmesan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mustard greens are tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Divide among bowls and sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup of Parmesan.