Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My MIL's Marvelous Meat Loaf

Crumble:
2 slices whole-wheat bread into 1/2 cup milk

When moist, add and mix well:
1 egg
1 or 2 shredded or coarsely chopped onions
1 minced clove garlic
1 and 1/2 pounds ground turkey (or, if you eat it, lean ground beef)
1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon each basil and freshly ground pepper

I often add 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, a grated carrot, or 1/2 cup or so fresh or frozen peas

Mix thoroughly, preferably with fingertips; mold into a loaf in a shallow baking dish or pack into a greased loaf pan;
sprinkle with paprika, bake at 350 degrees about 1 hour, or until 180 degrees.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Demetri's $20 Burgers

This is one of my favorite meals of all time. I always request this for my birthday dinner!!!

2 pounds lean ground beef or ground turkey
1 tablespoon butter
1 small red onion, diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3/4 cup plain yogurt (also good without yogurt)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon horseradish
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon hot sauce (if you dare, which I do not)

1. Saute onion and garlic in butter over medium heat until onion soften and begin to turn brown.
2. Mix together all remaining ingredients EXCEPT the meat in a bowl until smooth.
3. Add meat to mixture until evenly blended.
4. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
5. Make into patties and fry or grill according to your preference.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Bow Down Before Me For I Have Made Pulled Pork Sandwiches!!

All I can say is this was pretty easy and it was damn good! Demetri ate 3 sandwiches and Zoey ate 1.5!!!!! Plus, it uses the CROCK POT!!!!!

Ingredients

1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 (4 pound) pork shoulder roast
1 cup BBQ sauce
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 extra large onion, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
8 hamburger buns, split
2 tablespoons butter, or as needed


1. Pour the vegetable oil into the bottom of crock pot. Place the pork roast into pot; pour in the BBQ* sauce, apple cider vinegar, and chicken broth. Stir in the brown sugar, yellow mustard, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, onion, garlic. Cover and cook on High until the roast shreds easily with a fork, about 6 hours.
2. Remove the roast from the crock pot, and shred the meat using two forks. **
3. Spread the inside of both halves of hamburger buns with butter. Toast the buns, butter side down, in a skillet over medium heat until golden brown. Spoon pork into the toasted buns. Add BBQ sauce* to taste.

* I put Kraft honey BBQ sauce in the crock pot but then topped the sandwiches with KC Masterpiece - Original. The guy at the meat counter suggested I do this to sweeten the meat.
** The original recipe suggests putting the pulled port back into the juices in the crock pot. We did this with some of the meat and found that the juices were too oily and also made the buns soggy. And no one wants to eat wet bread (Hi Corey!!!)

Monday, November 22, 2010

My Mom's Amazing Sweet and Sour Chicken Stew


Ingredients:
2-3 chicken breasts, cubed
1/4 cup flour
salt
pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup water
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
several potatoes (I use 2-3 smallish ones), cubed
frozen mixed vegetables

1. Put flower, salt and pepper (based on your personal taste) into a freezer size bag. Add cubed chicken. Hold the bag closed with one hand and shake the chicken around so it becomes coated with the flour mixture.
2. In a big pot put olive oil and heat it up.
3. When olive oil is warm/hot add chicken and brown.
4. Once chicken is brown add the water, ketchup, brown sugar, apple vinegar, and worcestershire sauce and stir.
5. Add chopped onion, carrots, and potatoes. Stir.
6. Add however many frozen mixed veggies you want. I usually add about 1 to 1 1/2 cups.
7. Simmer for at least 40 minutes, or until potatoes are soft. The longer it simmers the better.

We usually serve the stew with bread and salad. YUM!




Friday, November 19, 2010

Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins

People, I'm going to announce this in advance: If you make these muffins, you might not be able to stop eating them, thereby adding several inches to your waistline. Consider yourself warned.

My lovely sister signed me up for a subscription to Martha Stewart's Everyday Food magazine, and two issues ago, I saw a recipe for Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins. I'm not going to bother re-typing the recipe here because I made no modifications to it. These doughnut-muffins are so fabulous.... They truly are a combination of a cake-style doughnut and a muffin. The actual cake/muffin part is not overly sweet, but after you bake these bad boys, you brush them with butter (YUM!) and roll them in a cinnamon-sugar recipe (DOUBLE YUM!). So, they end up being just the right amount of sweet. Holy mackerel, just typing all of that made me want to run out to the store and buy more pumpkin so I can make another batch.

Here's a picture of the muffins I baked:


They turned out looking virtually identical to the picture that comes with the recipe (with the exception of my terrible photography skills, that is). When does that ever happen?!? It probably helps that I followed the recipe's instructions exactly. I usually never sift all the dry ingredients together first, and alternately adding ingredients in portions typically sounds like a step I can skip. Funny how those instructions might actually be worthwhile....

So good. Soooooooooo good. I think my only complaint is that a single batch only makes 12 muffins. I didn't realize that; otherwise, I would have doubled the recipe. Oh well. There's always a next time.

P.S. Just like cinnamon-sugar cake doughnuts, these things are a tiny bit messy to eat, so consume them over a plate or the sink (if you're ghetto like me).

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Italian Bow Tie Bake

This is such a freakishly easy recipe that I feel kind of silly even putting it on the blog. It's the first new recipe I have tried in a long time that my husband, Corey, actually liked, so I thought it necessary to celebrate a little. I got this out of a magazine that specializes in super easy cooking, but then I modified it to cater to my own tastes. The original recipe doesn't call for any meat, so it would work well meatless too. I want to try it with Italian sausage next time. The key ingredient here is the Italian salad dressing mix -- it adds that certain je ne sais quoi that most of my dishes are usually missing.

ITALIAN BOW TIE BAKE

8 ounces uncooked bow tie pasta
1 pound ground beef
1 jar (16 ounces) spaghetti sauce
1 envelope Italian salad dressing mix
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease the a shallow 2-quart baking dish.

2. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.

3. Brown ground beef and drain.

4. In a bowl, combine the spaghetti sauce and salad dressing mix; add pasta and meat, then toss to coat.

5. Transfer the mixture to the baking dish and sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese.

6. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until heated through. Yield: 4 servings.

------------------------------------------------

Yeah, it's not such a beautiful dish, but it was super yummy.



And here is my 11-month-old (wearing his "Chicks Dig Me" bib, which I swear I only bought because it's hard to find bibs that don't velcro in the back and the only alternative was "Princess") wolfing it down:



Aaaaaand here is my 2-year-old eating a PBJ sandwich because she refused to eat the Italian Bow Tie Bake and I am still too chicken to just let her starve if she doesn't eat what she is served.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Chicken Stroganoff in a Crock Pot!

I love my crock pot!!!! And this recipe is soooo easy. And soooo yummy. Plus, there was enough left over to freeze for another meal.

3 - 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts - cubed

1/8 cup margarine or butter

1 (.7 ounce) package dry Italian salad dressing mix

  • 8 ounces cream cheese

  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup

  1. Put chicken, margarine and dressing mix in crock pot; mix together and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours.
  2. Add cream cheese and soup, mix together and cook on high for another 1/2 hour or until hot.
  3. Serve over rice or egg noodles.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Easy pizza

This isn't as easy as warming up a frozen pizza, but it's not as hard as making the dough from scratch. The lovely Alicia introduced me to the concept of buying pre-made fresh pizza dough in the refrigerated case at the grocery store. Originally, we used it to make pizza on the grill. Because I can't remember exactly how we did it (do you remember, Alicia?) and because we ran out of gas for our grill, I baked mine in the oven last night.

The best thing about buying this dough is that the baking instructions are on the bag. The second best thing is that you can break off a small chunk for your toddler to play with while you make the pizza. The third best thing is that you can put on any topping you want. All I had to do is roll out the dough flat, stick it on a baking sheet, and pile on the toppings. Here is what I put on the pizza:

- spaghetti sauce (because I was out of "pizza sauce")
- shredded mozzarella
- shredded parmesan
- minced broccoli coleslaw (we gotta get Charlie Jo to eat veggies SOMEHOW)
- minced ham (ditto on the proteins)
- quartered artichoke hearts (on one half only, because that would have been a deal-breaker for CJ)

Then, I brushed the edges of the crust with olive oil and shook on a light dusting of seasoned salt and grated parmesan. That turned out great! Corey, Charlie Jo, and Peter all loved the pizza. It was healthier than delivery pizza, but much tastier than frozen. We're definitely doing this again!

Here are my sous chefs:



And here is our creation, pre-baking:



I forgot to take a picture once it was all done because we ate it too fast. I made sure to get it out of the oven when the crust was still light brown. I simply cannot abide overdone crust.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Dump Cake








SO easy. Does this even count as a recipe?

1 box white or vanilla cake mix
2 cans canned fruit or fruit filling
(We use light cherry pie filling and crushed pineapple. Do not drain!)
2 sticks butter

Layer in a 9x13 in this order-
Fruit, dry cake mix, then butter slices.
Bake at 350 for an hour.

As you can see, this is the perfect recipe to try with little people. Charlotte and I split it, so we each used a square pan (8x8 or 9x9). She then took hers home to bake for her daddy. Peter was very impressed with her skills.




Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dover Sole Gratin with Broccoli and Leeks

I made this last night for dinner and my 22 month old loved it, as did my husband who is a self-confessed 'meat and 2 veggies' kind of guy. I guess I can put fish back on the menu rotation again!

6 dover sole fillets (it was just under a pound in total and to be honest it made a little too much so I actually managed to put some in the freezer too).
2 cups of broccoli florets
1 leek
1tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
2 cups milk
1/2 cup shredded gruyere cheese (or any other cheese you feel like)

1. Start off by making the cheese sauce. Melt the butter in a pan and add the flour to it. Cook for a couple of minutes. Then add milk slowly to make a creamy consistency (usually between 1 and 2 cups - it's not an exact science), stirring all the time. The sauce will thicken as it comes to temperature. Add the cheese and stir until it is melted in. Cover with some kitchen paper and put to one side.

2. Next, roughly chop a leek, add boiling water and bring to a simmer for about 8 minutes. Drain and then blend to a smooth consistency. Add to the cheese sauce.

3. Whilst the leek is cooking, you could also cook the broccoli florets until just tender. Blend to a chunky consistency and put to one side until the fish is cooked.

4. Next cook the fish. You can put it under the broiler but I prefer to fry in a tiny bit of olive oil. 3 minutes each side is more than enough for small dover sole fillets.

5. Once cooked, place the fillets of fish side by side on a casserole dish. Spoon a thin layer of the broccoli puree over the top of each piece of fish. Then top off with the cheese sauce. Put under the broiler for a couple of minutes to brown the top of the sauce.

I served with baked potatoes but I think it would go nicely with wild rice or even pasta too. Super easy and dinner from start to finish took 20 minutes! My kind of cooking :)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Update: Eggs in a Tomato improved!

Almost a month ago, I posted the Eggs in a Tomato recipe, and I mentioned the watery-ness problem. I requested ideas to fix the issue, and several people came up with some great fixes. Jennifer L. pointed out that the salt would draw out the moisture in the tomatoes, so perhaps nixing that would work. I cooked this recipe again tonight, and leaving out the salt WORKED!! Granted, we needed to add salt before we ate the eggs in tomatoes, but the texture and moisture was absolutely perfect. JLo, you rule!

Ham and Cheese Quiche---and freezer meals!

Hi all- It's been FOREVER since I posted. We had a beautiful summer here in the Midwest and I did not spend my time cooking! But alas, fall is here. And soon there will be several feet of snow on the ground. Ugh. So....time to hibernate!!!!

I came across an awesome cookbook at the grocery store the other day that I had to share with you. It's one of the Taste of Home ones, that you see at the check out line, and it's called Fall Freezer Meals. Every recipe in it looks WONDERFUL, and EASY, AND KID FRIENDLY (so far we have tried 2 and love them) and the best part is: the recipes are written so that you have one to eat, and one to freeze. It tells you how to cook it right away, as well as how to freeze the second and cook it later. I love it.

So below is the one we had last night. Another one is in the freezer for another time! I figure if I make 1-2 new recipes a week I'll have a freezer full in no time!

Ham and Cheese Quiche

2 pastry shells
2 cups diced fully cooked ham
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
2 teaspoons dried minced onion
4 eggs
2 cups half and half cream
1/2 teaspoon salt (you can omit this probably with all the ham---we thought it was a bit salty with it)
1/4 teaspoon pepper

1. Line pastry shells with a double thickness of tinfoil, bake at 400 degrees for 5 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 5 minutes.

2. Divide ham, cheese, and onion between the shells. In a bowl, wisk eggs, cream, salt and pepper. Pour into shells. Cover and freeze for up to 3 months. Or cover edges with foil and bake at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand for 5-10 minutes before cutting.

To use frozen quiche: Completely thaw in the refrigerator. Remove 30 minutes before baking, and bake as directed.

Okay, so with 2 cups of half and half, it's not the HEALTHIEST recipe!!!!! But you could probably tweak it and make it healthier? Would milk work instead?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins


PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFINS makes 12 muffins, with enough left over to fill a couple tiny ramekin-cakes.

  • 3/4 cup white sugar (I subbed equal amount of dark brown sugar)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin ( I use at least a full cup)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (1/2 a cup? You're wasting my time. Make it 1C)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400. Grease and flour muffin pan or use paper liners.
  2. Mix sugar, oil, eggs. Add pumpkin and water. In separate bowl mix together the baking flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt.. Add wet mixture and stir in chocolate chips.
  3. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes.


I first made these with regular chips. The kids asked for minis, which I made yesterday. The consensus? Back to regular, please. I also used rounded spoons of spices, as my kids like the taste of a little extra. Makes the house smell GREAT! I took a picture of these. Do I get partial credit?



Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hamburger with Barley Soup!


First off, let's acknowledge the obvious.

1) This is my first post! But..... I've already make a major mistake, which leads me to
2) I forgot to take a picture.

I know, I know, I blew it. Still, this soup is so good (and easy!), that I'm going to share it anyway.

HAMBURGER with BARLEY SOUP Serves 8 (or my 14 year-old son and 2 others)

1 lb. lean ground beef
1/4 C chopped onion
1 C chopped carrots
1 C chopped celery
1 C chopped cabbage
1 28 oz. can chopped tomatoes
28 oz water
1/3 C uncooked barley
4 tsp beef bouillon base (I used 4 cubes instead)
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
1 T brown sugar
2 T vinegar

In large pot, brown beef. Add everything else, except the brown sugar and vinegar. That's IT! Just simmer for an hour, add the flavor-boosting sugar and vinegar, and you're finished. (Niki finds the idea of sugar and vinegar in soup repulsive, but I say try it! I bet you change your mind.)

My family doesn't exactly do a happy dance when they find soup on the dinner table, but they loved this. Dan remembered me making it when the kids were little, and (uncharacteristically) mentioned how much he liked it after dinner and again this morning.

This soup is very forgiving. I have made it as written, or with adjustments. This time I put in a whole onion, and extra broth, as I only had half the tomatoes called for. No problem!

I served it with sourdough bread (buttered and browned in the broiler), then gave them a pumpkin-chocolate chip muffin for dessert. I love Fall!



Sunday, September 26, 2010

Dueling Beef Soup Recipes

My mom sent me this AMAZING recipe from a Penzey's Spices magazine. She and I each altered the recipe slightly, and our version is the one below called "Beefy Mushroom Barley Soup". Then, I stumbled upon a similar sounding recipe in the Everyday Food magazine and decided to try it. It was equally delicious, though it had a different more roast-y flavor. Yes, on this blog "roast-y" is a word. I couldn't decide which recipe I should submit for the blog, so I'm including BOTH. Lucky you! The Everyday Food one is altered to include my preferences, and it's called "Roasted Beef, Mushroom and Barley Soup".

Beefy Mushroom Barley Soup

1 lb. lean beef, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
10 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced
3 large carrots, sliced
1 cup pearl barley
7 cups of beef broth
1 cup dry red wine (can be omitted and one additional cup of beef broth substituted)
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 cup frozen peas (I omitted these nasty things)
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

1. Heat the olive oil in a stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the beef and saute until brown. Transfer the meat to another dish.

2. Add the onions and the mushroom to the pan drippings and cook until the onions are golden. Return the beef to the pot.

3. Stir in the carrots, barley, broth, wine, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, until the beef and barley are tender, about 45 minutes.

4. Stir in the peas and cook, uncovered, until tender, about 5 minutes.

5. Remove from the heat, stir in the lemon juice, tast and add more salt if desired.

------------------------------

Roasted Beef, Mushroom, and Barley Soup

1 lb. sirloin steak, cut into 1/2" pieces
1/2 lb. sliced mushrooms
2 shallots, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup quick-cooking barley

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. In a bowl, toss together the steak, mushrooms, shallots, and olive oil. Spread them in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until the beef and mushrooms are browned, about 25-30 minutes.

3. Scrape into a medium pot (including the brown stuff on the bottom of the pan) and add the broth and barley.

4. Bring the mixture to a boild over medium-high, then reduce heat and simmer until barley is soft, about 12-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper if desired.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Macaroni & Cheese That Will Make Joslyne Shudder with Revulsion

I made this after buying some of the Kraft-brand processed cheese stuff (like the Velveeta cheese) that I bought in a vain attempt to figure out a way to get Charlotte (my 2.5-year old) to eat mac & cheese with healthier pasta than comes with the boxed stuff. This recipe was inside the box, so I gave it a whirl. Joslyne doesn't believe that processed cheese is an actual food, so I'm posting this just to make her skin crawl. You're welcome, sweetie! I altered the directions a little after realizing places they were a little unclear

HOMESTYLE MACARONI & CHEESE

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine, divided
1/4 cup flour
1 cup milk
8 oz. Kraft Deluxe Pasteurized Processed American Cheese, cut up
2 cups elbow macaroni, COOKED AND DRAINED*
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese**
1/4 cup crushed Ritz crackers***

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Crush the crackers. Melt 1 tbsp. butter and stir it in with the crackers. Set this aside.

3. Boil the pasta until it is al dente and drain it. Dump it into a large bowl. (Do this before the next step because everything starts happening really fast and you don't have time to monitor and drain the pasta.)

4. Melt 3 tbsp. of the butter/margarine in a medium saucepan on medium low heat. Add the flour and mix well. Cook 2 minutes or until bubbly, stirring occasionally. Gradually add the milk, whisking until well-blended. Cook on medium heat until mixture boils and thickens, stirring CONSTANTLY. Add the processed cheese chunks; cook until melted, stirring frequently.

5. Dump the cheesy sauce onto the macaroni and mix until all of the pasta is covered. Spoon into a 2-quart casserole dish. Sprinkle with the cheddar cheese and then the buttery cracker crumbs.

6. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until heated through. Makes 5 servings according to the original recipe, but I think this only applies if you have the superhuman portion-control discipline of my tiny mother-in-law or have some really kick-butt side dishes to go along with it (other than the canned green beans I served).

* I used Ronzoni Smart Taste rotini instead of the elbow macaroni, and it was very fun.

** I used shredded "Mexican Blend" cheese instead of the cheddar because that's all we had. It was yummy.

*** I used saltines because I didn't have any Ritz, and it tasted pretty darn good to us.


The recipe turned out really good, but unfortunately Charlotte had eaten her afternoon snack a little too close to dinner and didn't eat very much. CURSES. Foiled again. Maybe next time. Peter, my 9-month-old, loved it, so I declared him the favorite child that evening. Just kidding. He was declared the favorite child of the year.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Eggs in a Tomato

Holy moly, people-- this dish is SO good.... I adapted it from a recipe I found in Martha Stewart's Everyday Food magazine (thank you, Niki, for the subscription!). But it has one tiny flaw, at least when I make it: it's a bit watery. Andrew and I have discussed several ways to sop up some of the liquid (put some tiny croutons or uncooked rice in with the corn?), and I'm interested to see if those will work, so I'm going to try them in the future. What other ideas can we come up with on this blog to make the guts of the recipe less watery?

Ingredients:

4 large, firm tomatoes
Kosher salt
Ground pepper
1/3 cup niblets canned corn
4 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh chives
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 9 inch square baking dish (or a pie plate) with parchment paper.

2) Slice off the top 1/2 inch of each tomato with a sharp knife (a serrated knife works well). Use either a spoon, a melon baller, or one of those grapefruit spoons to scoop and carve out the inner ribs and seeds of the tomatoes, creating the tomato version of a bread bowl. Don't break through the outside of the tomato unless you want the egg mixture to leak everywhere! Place tomatoes on the parchment paper in the dish/plate and season well with the Kosher salt and ground pepper.

3) Put 1/4 of the corn in each tomato.

4) Whisk together the eggs and chives, then divide them among the tomatoes. Top each egg mixture with 1/4 of the cheese.

5) Bake until the egg mixture is set (about 45-50 minutes).


******************

So, there you have it-- a really, really yummy dinner for two people (serve with rice, orzo, or toasted bread), or breakfast for 3 or 4 people. Let me know your ideas to solve the watery-ness problem. Maybe when you make it, it won't turn out watery.... Maybe I'm not scooping out enough of the insides of the tomato? Help! It just goes to show you how yummy this recipe is if I keep making it despite the watery issue.

And here's a gratuitous shot of my bestest little buddy, my daughter:


Sonia already loves scrambled eggs and cheese, so I'm going to see if she likes this next time I make it!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

AWESOME.

My husband took one bite of dinner and then turned around to spit it out directly into the trash can. There may have also been slight gagging.

AWESOME.

See if I ever reheat soggy two-day-old enchiladas (that kind of sucked in the first place) for him again. So there!

Apple Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting


Apple Cake

  • 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups chopped apple
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x9 inch pan. In a small bowl stir together flour, baking soda, salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together melted butter, brown sugar, white sugar, and yogurt with a wooden spoon until smooth. Stir in the egg and vanilla. Add the splash of apple juice.
  3. Blend in the flour mixture, then stir in the apples. Spread the mixture evenly into the pan.
  4. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in preheated oven. When done the cake should spring back when lightly poked.

Cream Cheese Topping
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Mix all ingredients and then beat until smooth. Gently frost the cooled cake and then refrigerate.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Pasta Pomodoro

I got this AWESOME pasta recipe from Runner's World magazine. It's easy, way better than canned sauce, and soooo goooood. Even Zoey liked it. Also great for freezing and using later.

Pomodoro Sauce

1/4 cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
3 16 ounce cans of peeled, whole Italian plum tomatoes
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 Teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
red pepper flakes (to taste)

Heat oil in saucepan over medium. Add garlic and saute until golden brown. While garlic browns, put tomatoes in a bowl -- squeeze with your hands to break them up*. Add tomatoes and juice to the saucepan. Add all seasoning/spices. Simmer for 45 minutes. Sauce should be bright red throughout all cooking. If it turns brick red it is too thick. Just add water.

Pomodoro Pasta

Boil your choice of pasta in salted water. Two minutes before it's cooked, drain and add to simmering Pomodoro sauce. Cook until tender; allow pasta to absorb sauce. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with your choice of cheese.

* Zoey LOVED doing this part

Monday, September 6, 2010

Butter Chicken

A friend of mine, who can cook, gave me this recipe for a yummy south Asian chicken dish. The bonus with this recipe is that I have left out major ingredients, like cream, and it still turned out tasty. The real cook makes it slightly differently every time, so don't worry if you fudge the ingredients or measurements just a little.

1 onion chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp chile powder
4 cloves fresh garlic or 2 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp ginger powder
1/2 cup light cream
1 cup tomato sauce (thin)
1 tsp butter
olive oil
2 pounds boneless chicken (cut into bite sized pieces) - - I buy chicken breasts and cut them up
fresh cilantro (if you are feeling fancy)
basmati rice

helpful hint born of hectic cooking experience: Combine all the spices in a little bowl before you start cooking and dump them into the dish at the opportune moment.

2nd helpful hint born of hectic cooking experience: Rinse, pat dry, and chop chicken before you start cooking.

1. Fry onions in oil until onions turn light brown.
2. Add garlic and fry. Then add spices.
3. Add chicken. Stir well.
4. When chicken is light brown, add tomato sauce and 1/2 cup water.
5. Cook on low-medium, covered, for 25 minutes, stir occasionally.
6. Add cream and let simmer for 10-15 minutes. (also good without cream)
7. Add butter.
8. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with basmati rice.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Chicken and Broccoli Pasta Bake

My first ever post on a blog....so here goes!!

Serves 4 adults

4 chicken breasts
3 cups of broccoli florets
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
splash of white wine (optional)
8oz of whole grain pasta (any type will do)
2 tbsp butter
2tbsp flour
2 cups milk
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
juice of half a lemon
1 cup of parmesan cheese

1. Pre-heat oven to 400F

2. Finely chop the onion and cook on a medium heat for 5-6 in 1 tbsp olive oil until translucent. Add crushed garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes.

3. Add chopped chicken breasts (about 1 inch pieces) and stir until colored (2-3 minutes).

4. Add splash of white wine (if using) and raw broccoli florets and cook for a further 5 minutes or until the chicken is just cooked through.

5. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the instructions less 1 minute.

6. Whilst pasta is cooking, make the white sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan and once melted, add the flour. Stir and let the flour absorb all of the butter and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring all the time. Whisk in the milk bit by bit, waiting for the liquid to be completely absorbed before adding any more. If you don't be patient at this stage, you'll get lumps. Stir continuously until the sauce begins to thicken (this will only take 2-3 minutes on a medium heat). If you let the sauce go too far, just add a little more milk.

7. Add the mustard and lemon juice and stir well.

8. Add the cooked pasta and chicken/broccoli mix to the white sauce and then pour into a casserole dish. Grate the parmesan cheese over the top and put in the oven for 30 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese has turned golden brown.

A different twist on this recipe is to use 4 pieces of haddock (about 6-8oz each) and 10oz spinach instead of the chicken and broccoli. Cook the onions and garlic as above, add the spinach and wilt for 2-3 minutes and then add to the white sauce and pasta. Mix and then add cubes of the raw fish and cook in the oven as above until the fish is cooked through (about 20-25 minutes) and the sauce is bubbling.

I served with a crunchy green salad with some sun dried tomatoes. Easy-peasy and very delicious!!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Whole Wheat Linguini alla Carbonara

Holy moly, I had no idea that pasta alla carbonara was so easy to make. Seriously, this tastes so good and will impress people, but you don't need to spend all day slaving in the kitchen. It takes about a half hour to make (as long as you make the bacon ahead of time, that is). I adapted this from my BHG cookbook, and we instantly added it to my list of weeknight dinners.


Ingredients:

7 slices of bacon, cooked until crispy and crumbled into small pieces
6 oz whole wheat linguini
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup snipped fresh parsley
Ground pepper

1) Cook linguini until al dente and drain.

2) Meanwhile, for the sauce, combine egg, milk, and butter in a small saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat for about 7-8 minutes. Immediately pour it over the linguini and toss gently.

3) Add cheese, parsley, and bacon; toss gently. Grind fresh pepper on top.

VOILA! Yummiest meal ever. It's pretty heavy, though, so serve it with a nice, light salad.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Easy Cheesy Pesto Casserole Goodness

2 chicken breast, cooked and chopped*
8 oz rotini
6 oz pesto (I recommend the Buitoni kind in the refrigerated pasta section)
6 oz ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella or Italian cheese blend

* If you want to go meatless, just add in some yummy veggies like broccoli etc.
** You can also add pareseam cheese if you want more cheesiness.

Preheat oven to 400.

Cook rotini for 2 minutes less than the package directions specify. Drain well and transfer it to a bowl. Stir in chicken, pesto, ricotta, 3/4 cup mozzarella. Mix up and transfer it to a casserole type dish. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella.

Bake until the cheese is melted, about 20 minutes. Turn the oven to broil and broil for 1 minutes or until golden.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A link you might enjoy

We're kind of taking an unofficial summer hiatus on this blog (some of us are moving to the east coast, some of us are about to pop out a baby, and some of us are having far too much fun in the warm weather), but my husband wrote a Flaming Toaster-worthy post on our own blog. Check it out:

http://andrewanderinm.blogspot.com/2010/06/economy-by-andrew.html

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Beef Stroganoff: the cheater's version

I love me some beef stroganoff, but every recipe I have ever seen (except this one, which was adapted from one I found in the "Fix-It and Forget-It 5 Ingredient Favorites" book I've mentioned before) involves browning the beef in a skillet, making a huge mess on my stove top. I am the kind of clean freak who is not actually a fan of cleaning-- a lot of times, I'd rather not do an activity than do it and clean up after it. Honestly, this is one of my biggest problems with cooking-- the clean up involved. Hence, my love for crock pot meals that involve no pre-cooking.

When I made this recipe a few weeks ago, we happened to have some Parmesan cheese in the fridge, so we sprinkled it on top. Mmmmmm! It went very well with steamed green beans, too. For some reason, the sauce looks really pale in this picture-- I think it was because of the flash, because I don't remember it being this pale.


Ingredients:
10 3/4 oz can cream of mushroom soup (the condensed kind)
14 1/2 oz can beef broth
1 lb beef stewing meat (buy the kind already cubed in 1" pieces)
1 cup sliced mushrooms (buy the kind already sliced)
1 1/4 cup sour cream
2 cups egg noodles

1) Stir together the cream of mushroom soup and beef broth in the crock pot.

2) Add meat and mushrooms.

3) Cover and cook on High for 3-4 hours; reduce heat and cook on Low for 3-4 hours. (If you're not going to be home and won't be able to change the temperature, cook it on High for 5-6 hours, but the beef will be a bit tougher when you do that.)

4) At some point during the day, cook the egg noodles.

5) Right before you're ready to eat, stir in the sour cream (you can whisk it to make it combine with the broth more quickly), and then stir in the noodles.

*****

Seriously-- could this get any easier? I love this recipe so much!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Nectar of the gods or, Avocado Salsa

This recipe is awesome. AWESOME. I put the salsa over tilapia but it would also be great on hamburgers, with chicken, or as a side.

2 avocados, peeled, pitted, and chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
1/3 cup chopped onions
3 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp lime juice
2 large-ish cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper

Mix it all up. Cover it all up. Chill for 1 - 2 hours. Re-mix. And prepare to be blown away.



Sunday, May 16, 2010

Summery Pasta Salad

Salad:
6 oz. tortellini, cooked and cooled
1 cup broccoli cooked and cooled*
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed*
3/4 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup parmesan cheese (you may want to have extra to sprinkle over the top when serving)
1/2 cup Italian dressing

Dressing:
2/3 cup mayo
2 tsp spicy brown mustard
1/2 tsp dill weed
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all salad ingredients together. *I find the easiest way to cook the peas and the brocoli is to throw them in for the last 2-3 minutes with the tortellini. Chill for 15 - 30 minutes. Mix together the ingredients for the dressing and gently stir in to salad. Chill for at least two more hours.

Monday, May 3, 2010

White Fish with Olives

Yes, I'm posting yet another recipe that my sister won't eat. I'm considered the picky eater in the family, oddly enough! Niki won't eat potatoes, sushi maki rolls (even the vegetarian ones), or fish. I refuse to eat certain flavor combinations and a lot of vegetables. And baby animals. And really spicy stuff. Okay, so maybe I'm pickier. Whatever!

I adapted this recipe from one that I found in a Real Simple magazine a few years ago. The original recipe was a bit too spicy (ahem), so I needed to tweak it a bit. Now for the part where I admit the way in which I screwed this recipe up the first time I made it: I used olives with pits still in them. Whoops! Kind of annoying, but not disastrous. So-- make sure you buy the pitted olives (the ones sold in the refrigerated section next to the fancy cheeses).

A few more notes: There's no need to use a lemon zester.... I didn't know we owned one, so I used a cheese grater, and I liked the zest that came from the grater better than the zest I got from the lemon zester when I made it the second time. This recipe serves 4 people, but make sure you have a substantial side dish and veggies to go with it. Go ahead and buy a dry white wine that you like because you will use barely any of it in this recipe.

Ingredients:

2 pounds white fish filets
3/4 cup dry white wine (like Sauvignon Blanc)
1/2 cup mixed olives (or kalamata olives)
Zest from one lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place fish in small roasting pan (or a casserole dish). Add enough wine to reach halfway up the sides of the fish. Scatter the olives around the fish and the lemon zest on top of the fish. Drizzle with the olive oil and season with the peppers and salt.

Roast until fish is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork (about 20 minutes). Remove dish from oven and sprinkle with the parsley.

***

When I made this recipe recently, our side dish was some insanely awesome foccacia bread I found in the bakery at Super Target. I highly recommend picking some up! Mmmmmm....


Sunday, May 2, 2010

A Most Excellent Marinade

I got this recipe from my Mom. She used it for steak and, MMMMM BABY, was it delicious. I think it would also be good on chicken, pork, etc.

In a small mixing bowl whisk together the following...
2 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 C dry red wine
3 cloves garlic minced
3 TBS fresh minced parsely
1 TBS chopped fresh oregano
1 Bay leaf
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
Place meat in bowl or bag and make sure you move it around in marinade. Do this over night. Grill meat without marinade.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Link and A Question

Hi Ladies,
Sorry it's been so long without a recipe. However, rather than bore you with the littany of reasons why I haven't posted (the most honest of which being that I have been a lazy ass in the kitchen), I thought I would distract you with a link and a question.

First, the link. If you haven't already, check out Weelicious. There are a lot of great recipes for all ages, and they're EASY.

Now the question - how do you all store your recipes? Online? In paper? Mine are currently scattered around the house, and I end up forgetting what I have and reprinting a lot, which seems silly.

Hope you're all well!

Friday, April 16, 2010

German Potato Soup

I'm sitting here typing this as the fantastic smell of German Potato Soup is wafting down the stairs and making me wish is was dinner time right NOW! I am not posting a picture of it because it's not very attractive (most soups aren't). But believe me, it's AWESOME. If you leave out the bacon and use vegetable broth rather than beef broth, it is Kosher-friendly and vegetarian. The caraway seeds, nutmeg, and sour cream are the key ingredients. Mmmmmm....

Even though this recipe seems idiot-proof, I still managed to mess it up the first time I made it. It wasn't 100% my fault, though! I found the original recipe in "Best-Loved Slow Cooker Recipes", and my first attempt at cooking this soup uncovered a glaring typo in the book-- it called for 2 teaspoons of black pepper. Being the dutiful and very inexperienced non-chef that I am, I followed that recipe to a T, and we ended up with a soup that made my lips and tongue burn for hours afterward. Looking at the typical proportions of pepper to salt in other soup recipes, I figured out that the author most likely meant to type "1/2" rather than "2". The other goof I did was that I didn't know you're supposed to use the white part of the leek-- not the green part. We actually googled leeks and made sure that it wouldn't kill us to eat the green part. Luckily, the pepper problem WAY overshadowed the leek problem, and the soup still tasted good enough for us to want to make it again.

There seems to be a lot of chopping involved when you first read the recipe, but it goes really quickly (it takes maybe 20 minutes). I do all of the chopping while I cook the bacon; even though you don't add the bacon until right before you serve the soup, I like to get all of the cooking done at the same time.

So, here is the recipe that I adapted from the original printed recipe:

1 pound potatoes, diced (I leave the skins on)
4 cups beef broth
1 small onion, chopped
1 leek (the white part!!), trimmed and diced
2 carrots, diced
1 1/2 cups chopped cabbage
1/4 cup chopped parsley (or 2 tsp dried parsley)
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
a little less than 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup sour cream
1 pound bacon, cooked until very crispy and diced

Optional ingredient: celery (I think everything is better with celery.)

Combine all ingredients except the sour cream and bacon in crock pot. Cover and cook on Low for 8 to 10 hours or High for 4 to 5 hours. Remove and discard bay leaf. Stir in bacon pieces and sour cream. Serve and prepare to LOVE IT. Makes 4 servings (and any leftovers are fabulous for days afterwards).

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Mud Balls

I was recently over at a friends house for a playdate and she was going to do a mini-cooking session with the kids for snack time. Was she crazy?! How inspirational! These Mud Balls looked delicious.....but I told her that I had given up sweets for Lent so I couldn't try them. Well, she declared that these were SNACKS not dessert. So, I ate one.....and I haven't stopped eating them. I have made them more times than I can count in the last couple of months! They were my Lent Cheat. They got me through. And once Lent was over, I was able to admit that they WERE indeed cookie-like-dessert. ;) But they have OATS and FLAX SEEDS in them, so they MUST be health food!!!! Right?! I think I will start adding flax seeds to random things, just so I can call it health food. Stay tuned for more recipes including flax seeds......

At any rate, Lent is over and I am still eating them. I love them. And the kids enjoy making Mud Balls too--messy and fun! And health food?! Woah. Can you handle it?

Here's what they call for:
1/4 cup of each of these things: ground flax seeds, sunflower seeds, chocolate chips, honey, and peanut butter
1/2 cup of oats

Put peanut butter and honey in microwave-safe bowl for one minute, stir. Add everything else to the bowl, mix it up, and then roll it into bite-size balls. Or have your kids do this part! Or just stick some of the Mud Ball mud in a bowl and eat it.....sometimes I do this.
Once rolled into balls, just put them on a cookie sheet and place it in the refrigerator. These won't last long so I don't even cover them.

Notes: I use chunky peanut butter, but you can use either. Flax seeds can be ground in a coffee bean grinder. Also, I always double this recipe when I'm making it. One batch is just not enough in my house!

Enjoy this "health food"! :)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Whole Dinner Roast Beef

I love when the main dish contains enough food groups that you don't need to add a side.... This crockpot meal is so easy, but it has some of the same problems that the roast beef with tomatoes and garlic has: sometimes there are too many leftovers and unless you want it to taste like I imagine soylent green would, you have to splurge on expensive meat. But this recipe is still really tasty and extremely easy, so in my repertoire it goes! It was adapted from a book called "Fix-It and Forget-It 5 Ingredient Favorites". You can add or subtract vegetables as desired-- the recipe is really flexible!

Ingredients:

3-4 lb roast beef (rib roast is a good choice)
10 3/4 oz can cream of mushroom soup
1 envelope dry onion soup mix
4 cups baby carrots
2 potatoes (cut into quarters)
1 cup sliced celery
1 small onion (cut into quarters)

1) Place veggies in crockpot.

2) Put meat on top of veggies.

3) Dump mushroom soup and dry onion soup mix on meat.

4) Cover and cook for 8 hours on LOW.

*****

When we made this recipe and I took this picture, I didn't add the celery or onions.



I also just realized that you can see the baby monitor in the upper right-hand corner of this picture. Ha! Andrew and I aren't able to eat dinner while Sonia is awake because he gets home from work only 15 minutes before she goes to bed. Maybe once she gets older, we can push back her bedtime so we can eat as a family, but for now, it's kinda easier (and more relaxing!!) to do it this way.

Monday, April 5, 2010

When Fever Strikes - Sick Mama's Mac N Cheese

Hi Ladies,

Sorry I haven't posted a recipe in awhile. We were celebrating Passover all last week, and although we enjoyed a number of delicious traditional foods, including Matzoh Brei, matzoh ball soup, gefilte fish, brisket, and potato kugel, I didn't actually make any of them. (If you're really curious, I'd be happy to put you in touch with my husband or mother-in-law - they have some great recipes!)

Anyway, my culinary skills during Passover are limited to matzoh pizza, matzoh with peanut butter and jelly, matzoh with ricotta cheese and honey, fried eggs, and lots of fruit. Hence, my lack of blogging last week.

Today I have a different kind of recipe for all of you. Not the kind that is going to challenge any of our culinary skills, and not even the kind that any of us can be proud of. But sometimes it's all we can do.

The thing is, I'm sick. I have a persistent cough, and a low-grade fever. I have no energy, no motivation, and even fewer coping skills. Also, I'm pregnant, which means every time I cough I have to change my pants. (If you don't understand why, you don't want to know. Trust me.) Needless to say, the thought of making a real dinner for the Chooch tonight was just more than I could handle.

So, here for your slackardly pleasure is my five step guide for Feverish Mamas With Hungry Toddlers:

1. Drag your tired ass to the grocery store. You may not have the energy, but at least your overly-energetic toddler will be somewhat contained in the grocery cart, and all you have to do is make your way to the freezer aisle.

2. Select a frozen Mac N Cheese dinner. Make yourself feel better about this by a) purposely not buying the meals with Grover or Elmo on them, and b) shelling out the extra cash for the organic brand.

3. Head home, being sure to ignore the copy of Michael Pollan's Food Rules on the coffee table. When was the last time he was ever pregnant with a fever and a toddler anyway? Jerk.

4. Put aforementioned meal in the microwave. At some point before it's done, toss in some frozen veggies and continue microwaving. Acknowledge to yourself that the veggies will be more effective in assuaging your own guilt than increasing the nutritional quality of the meal, as your child is likely to suck the cheese off each pea and green bean before reaching into her mouth, removing said vegetable and politely handing it back to you.

5. Continue to feel bad about the crappy meal, but then realize that you are no frickin' Martha Stewart, and if you were, you'd probably have a damn cook anyway. Enjoy the smile on your baby's face, and realize you are over it.