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!


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.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

A challenger for Erin's banana bread recipe

I was looking for my copy of the banana bread recipe that Erin posted (and I stupidly forgot I could just look it up on the blog!) and came across this one I had stuck in my recipe box (without trying it first) ages and ages ago. I made it for the casual Easter dinner we just had with my husband's grandparents, and it was a big hit with everyone except my weirdo daughter. She wouldn't even try it for some reason. What a chucklehead. Oh well.

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/4 cup oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium ones)
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Grease and flour an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch (6-cup) loaf pan.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.
  • Mix in wet ingredients.
  • Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts, the pour it all into the loaf pan.
  • Bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, 70 to 80 minutes. Tent loosely with foil if loaf browns too quickly.
  • Cool loaf 10 minutes in the pan, the turn it out and cool completely on a rack.
I did the foil tent thing and baked it for 80 minutes. The result was delicious. I actually had oranges in the house so I used fresh grated zest, but I bet the jarred stuff would be just as good. There's still half a loaf left, but I bet it won't stick around for long.

I was distracted and failed to take a picture of the loaf when it was fresh out of the oven, so to distract you from this faux pas I'm posting a photo of the two cutest Easter egg hunters in Tennessee:

You're welcome.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Charlotte and her Granny Great tackle Chicken a la Niki

Tonight, Charlotte and her Great Grandmother Kappy (aka "Granny Great") were my sous chefs while I made Chicken a la Niki. Yes, I made it the way Corey likes it -- with saltines. I also went a little wild and added some garlic powder to the breading. Even though Charlotte helped me add it and went a little crazy, I really couldn't taste it. Verdict - don't bother with it. The seasoned salt and Italian seasoning are much more important.

Here are Charlotte (wearing a teal tutu given to her from her buddy, Alicia) and her Granny Great helping me smash the saltines:

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Whatever-You-Want Quiche (without crust!)

mmmmmmm! Quiche! The great thing about this recipe is that it's totally flexible. Use whatever kind of cheese you want! use more or less spinach depending on your taste! Forgo the onions! Add garlic! Get cray-zee!

1 tbsp olive oil
1 Onion, chopped
about 1/2 a bag of fresh spinach, chopped
about 1/2 a block of feta, chopped (or about 1.5 cups of other shredded cheese)*
5 eggs, beaten
1/8 tsp pepper

1. Preheat over to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9 inch pice pan.
2. Saute onions and spinach in olive oil until spinach is wilted and onions are tender.
3. In a large bowl combine eggs, cheese, pepper, (maybe salt)*, and the spinach and onion mixture. Stir until mixed well.
4. Scoop mixture into pie pan.
5. Bake in over about 30 minutes or until eggs have set. Let cool for 5 minutes. Serve.

* If you don't use feta, add a 1/4 tsp salt

Get on the Quiche Train! Toot! Toot!