Monday, June 30, 2008

Cheesecake Brownies

This is my favorite way to make a regular old brownie mix more special.

Prepare 1 package of regular fudge brownie mix according to the directions on the box. Spread brownie mix in the bottom of a 9 x 13" pan.

Beat together the following ingredients in a bowl until smooth:
1 package of cream cheese (room temperature)
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 c sugar

Add spoonfuls of cheesecake mixture to brownies. With a knife, make swirls in the mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

3 Stars

Thursday, June 26, 2008


I got this recipe from Emily Page. It's for use on the dough cycle of a bread maker. I'd give these 4 stars.

Makes 16 rolls (actually, the original recipe made 18, but it's a lot easier to cut a circle into 16ths than into 18ths, and it doesn't really change the bake time)

3/4 cup water
1 large egg
3 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons dry milk
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons yeast

Put ingredients in order in bread machine. Select dough cycle.

When dough cycle is complete, roll dough out into a large circle. Cut into 16 wedges. Roll wedges up from the outside of the circle in.

Place rolls on baking sheet. Cover and let rise 30 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes.

Broccoli Cheese Soup

I got this recipe from a very old friend. It's one of the few things my daughter will actually look forward to having for dinner. I give it 3 stars (because I don't do half stars, otherwise I'd give it 3.5).

6 cups chopped broccoli (fresh or frozen - I use 2 1lb bags of frozen chopped broccoli)
1 grated carrot
1 small onion, diced
1 tsp parsley flakes
5 chicken bouillon cubes (okay, so maybe not vegetarian in the strictest sense)
2 cups milk
1/2 cup flour
1 pint heavy cream
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated

Add bouillon cubes to 5 cups water. Boil and add vegetables and parsley. Cook until tender, about 5 min. Mix about 1/3 cup milk with the flour, stirring until smooth. Stir flour mixture and rest of milk into soup, then stir in cream. Cook for a little while until it starts to thicken. Add grated cheese and cook only until cheese melts.

I usually serve this with the rolls in my next post.

Macaroni and Cheese That Grown-Ups Want to Eat

The other night we had Kraft mac'n'cheese. Glamorous, I know. To make it more palatable for me, we cook broccoli florets in with the noodles. Then we prepare the sauce according to the directions on the box, adding 1/2 can of diced tomatoes per box of mac (or even less depending on how tomatoey you like it), some italian seasoning, some extra grated cheese, and some parmesan. You could add lots of other things, including chicken to make it more substantial. I know Ralphie adds peas and chicken, which is very yummy.

Chicken-Fajita Tostadas

I made these tonight and they were really great. We love mexican food and have burritos or tacos often -- this was a nice change. The recipe came from Everyday Food Magazine. I made a few changes.

From the magazine: "These mile-high healthy tostadas made with shredded chicken are piled with produce; they sport a big helping of corn, peppers, and onions, plus a fresh tomato salsa."

2 medium onions, thinly sliced (I used only 1)
2 bell peppers (ribs and seeds removed), thinly sliced
1 box (10 oz) frozen corn kernels
1 cup prepared fresh salsa (I used HEB's fresh pico de gallo)
2 tablespoons olive oil
coarse salt and ground pepper
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast (I used 3 breasts)
4 corn tortillas (I prepared 8 tortillas and had plenty to top with so this could feed a big family)
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar (I used a mexican blend)
lime wedges (this is not in the original recipe, but adds a lot of nice flavor)

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. On foil, combine onions, bell peppers, corn, 1/4 c salsa, and 1 tablespoon oil; season with salt and pepper.
2. Roast, tossing occasionally, until vegetables are tender and lightly browned, 15-20 minutes. Add chicken, stir to combine, and continue to roast until warmed through, 5 minutes more. Transfer chicken and vegetable mixture to a serving bowl, disgarding foil (reserve sheet).
3. Arrange tortillas on sheet. Dividing evenly, brush with remaining tablespoon oil; top with cheese. Bake until edges are golden and cheese is melted, 5 to 8 minutes. (Make sure that the tortillas become crispy).
4. Dividing evenly, top tortillas with chicken-vegetables mixture and remaining 3/4 cup salsa. Squeeze lime juice over top of tostada.

We folded the tortillas in half, once filled with the chicken-veggie mixture, and ate them like tacos.

I would give this 3.5 stars. I'll make this again for sure.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Easy French Dip Sandwiches

We had french dip sandwiches tonight, at Mike's request. This is a really simple "recipe" and one that our family enjoys.

Easy French Dip Sandwiches (I love! :0))

I was able to make 5 sandwiches and you could probably stretch it to 6 with the 1 lb. of deli roast, depending on how meaty you like your sammies.

I have a slow oven and like these on the crispy side, so I kept them in the oven a bit longer than 5 minutes, and switched it to broil after getting impatient.

Served with a green salad.

For a quick, weeknight meal: 3 stars

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Nikki's Tortellini Chicken Salad

This is my friend Nikki's recipe and it's delicious! You'll want to make it around lunch time so that it's nice and cold for a hot summer night.

18oz. frozen or refrigerated tortellini
4 c. cubed, cooked chicken breast
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
6 oz. sliced olives, drained
1 c. cubed Jack cheese
1/3 c. fresh parsley, minced
1/2 red onion (this isn't in the original recipe, but I had it on hand and it was awesome in the salad!)
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. pepper
3/4 c. balsamic vinaigrette
1/2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese

Cook tortellini according to package; drain and rinse in cold water. In a large bowl, combine everything. Drizzle vinaigrette and toss to coat. Refrigerate for 4 hours. Add more cheese before serving.

4 stars!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Butternut Squash Soup

Nothing warms the soul on a hot summers day like a big boiling vat of soup. Yes it was 102 dgs today, no I didn't want to make the soup, but my butternut squash was nearing the end of its two month shelf life. This is a good recipe, though somewhat better when it is actually could outside : ) I also really like it because I feel ultra healthy when I eat it. So if you've been on a fast food binge, try eating this soup the next day for penance.

Butternut Squash Soup with Ravioli

2 lbs butternut squash (or if you don't feel like weighing your squash, one medium butternut squash)
2 14 oz cans vegetable broth
1/8 tsp ground red pepper (I substitute chili powder)
1 Tbs butter or margarine
1 p oz pkg frozen or refrigerated cheese ravioli
1 tbs molasses (very optional, adds no taste but makes it look cool)

*Peel squash and halve lengthwise. Remove seeds and discard. Cut squash into 3/4 inch pieces
*In a large saucepan combine 1/2 C water, squash, vegetable broth, and red pepper. Cook covered on medium heat for 20 minutes until squash is tender.
*Transfer 1/4 of the squash mixture to a blender. Cover and process until smooth. Repeat with remaining portions, one at a time until all of the mixture is blended (do not skip this step or you will wind up with squash soup over your entire kitchen, trust me).
*Return blended mixture to the sauce pan, bring just to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Add butter and stir until just melted
* MEANWHILE prepare the ravioli according to package directions. Ladle hot soup into bowls. Divide cooked ravioli amont the bowls. Drizzle with molasses.

Two stars, two and a half if you count how healthy you are for eating squash. Oh and I used chicken broth because, really, who has vegetable broth?

Sean's Falafel & Cucumber Sauce

When it's this hot outside, I tend to want to prepare lighter dishes so I thought I'd put falafel on our weekly menu. It's a good vegetarian option too!

This was my first attempt at falafel and it turned out pretty well. It's one of those dishes where if you like the flavors -- parsley, cumin, coriander, dill weed -- then you'll probably like it. If you don't like the taste of those ingredients, you won't be converted by this recipe. Make sense? I got the recipe from

Sean's Falafel & Cucumber Sauce

I made a few changes:
  • I used 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin instead of a full teaspoon.
  • I doubled the sauce, but left the amount of dill weed the same: Use 2 (6 oz) containers of plain yogurt, a whole cucumber, 1 teaspoon of dried dill weed, 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise, and salt and pepper to taste.

I served the falafel in pita bread with lettuce and tomatoes and the cucumber sauce.

I'd give this recipe 2 1/2 stars.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Crock-pot Chili

This is super-easy to put together and makes a ton!!! I am attempting freezing part of it right now...we'll see how that turns out. It also got 3rd place in the Ward Chili Cook-Off...if they only knew how simple it was. My kids even love it because it's not too spicy. For them I usually stir in some sour cream to cool it off and give it a more mild flavor. We usually have chili and cornbread muffins (Betty Crocker) the first night and use it for Navajo Tacos as leftovers (and there is still a bunch left).


*1 can kidney beans
*1 can pinto beans
*1 can black beans
*1 can white beans (also called Great Northern)
*1 can chile con carne (regular chile with meat)
*1 can stewed tomato
*1 lb. hamburger (cooked)
*1/2 pkg. taco seasoning
*season with salt, pepper, and garlic salt

Put everything in the crockpot and cook on low 3-4 (or simmer on stove for 30-45 minutes, stirring frequently). Garnish with grated cheese, sour cream, and whatever else you like!

I usually do the hamburger while I empty out all the cans. Make sure to include all the "juices." I do the stewed tomatoes last and cut them up some.

I'd give it 3 1/2 stars for our family.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

PW's Crash Hot Potatoes

I've made Pioneer Woman's Crash Hot potatoes twice this week for different sets of company and they were adored all around. They're incredibly easy and super delicious, so I figured I'd direct you to the recipe if you aren't already a worshipful fan of her cooking blog!

Find the recipe here.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Indian-Style Chicken Curry

I made this recipe up with inspiration from the curry my mom would make growing up. I give it three stars. Since I never actually measure this stuff, I'm not positive how accurate this is, sorry. The key here is the curry paste so you don't have to collect your own spices. I use Patak's brand, which comes in several delicious flavors with varying spiciness. Collect them all! You can find the jars of curry paste in the international foods aisle of some grocery stores (Randall's here had it last I checked) or an Indian market (there's one over by the Best Buy on 45 around here).

1 medium onion, sliced

2 chicken breasts, cubed

3 Tbs. lemon juice

2-4 Tbs. Indian curry paste

1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz.)

1 lb. frozen okra

1 cup frozen peas (optional)

garlic salt to taste (optional)


Cook onions and chicken in large frying pan over medium high heat. Stir in curry paste (vary based on how frugal you want to be and how strong and how spicy you want it) and cook for about 5 minutes. Add canned tomatoes and simmer for about 5 additional minutes. Add frozen veggies and garlic salt, if using. Simmer at least until vegetables are cooked, stirring occasionally. The okra naturally thickens the curry. The longer you simmer, the better the flavors turn out, so I try to simmer for about half an hour. Shortly before serving, stir in lemon juice (add extra if you like, I have no idea how much I use) and let it simmer for a minute or two before serving.

Serve over rice (basmati rice is most authentic and very yummy).

Note: I've made this with beef before too when I was out of chicken. I prefer the chicken, but I thought the beef was (Sorry all you Hindus!) SACRILICIOUS!!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Onion Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

I got this recipe from, we LOVED it. Not only was it super delicious but it was SO easy and fast to make.

1 envelope Lipton Recipe Secrets Onion Soup Mix
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1/2 tsp. Lawry's garlic powder (w/ parsley)
4 chicken breasts
2 medium all purpose potatoes, cut into chunks
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a large plastic bag or bowl, add all ingredients. Close bag and shake, or toss in a bowl, until chicken and veggies are completely coated.
In a 13x9-inch baking or roasting pan arrange chicken and veggies-- discard bag.
Bake uncovered (basting halfway through) for 45 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked and vegetables are tender.
Prep Time: 10 minutes (I LOVE that!!!!)
Cook Time: 45 minutes

Comments: I added salt and pepper and I wished I would have added an extra potato or two, it would also be good with some real onion slices in there too. Very very delicious, three and a half stars!!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Momma's Chocolate Chip Cookies ****

My mom clipped this recipe out of a newspaper in like the 20's or something. It's the recipe we have always used and is, in my humble opinion, the best chocolate chip cookie out there (I am sure you all have the best chocolate chip cookie recipe as well).

Mom’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

½ cup of white sugar

1 cup shortening

1 t vanilla

1 C brown sugar, well packed

2 eggs

2 ¼ cups of flour

1t baking soda

1 t salt

1 C choc chips

Cream together shortening, sugar, vanilla, eggs. Add salt and soda, mix well. Add 1 ¼ cups of the flour, mix well. Add the last cup of flour and mix by hand, add choc chips and mix by hand. You can add walnuts too, but I’m not a big fan ;)

Bake @ 350 for 7-10 minutes. The trick to these cookies is to not over bake them. Pull them out when they first start to crack on top or turn slightly darker brown. You will not be disappointed. Well, if you over cook them you might be, so don't.

Greek Salad Dressing

This is my third attempt to post this, I am banging my head on the keyboard. It keeps telling me I have a javascript error? Whatever.

I served this over Gretchens pasta salad (without the pepperoni, because we bought pepperoni that day but it turned out to be moldy which was quite interesting because it came from Randall's, the posh grocery store). It was great!

Greek Salad Dressing

  • 1/2 cup and 1 tablespoon and 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons pepper
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard
  • 3/4 cup and 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

  1. In a very large container, mix together the olive oil, garlic powder, oregano, basil, pepper, salt, onion powder, and Dijon-style mustard. Pour in the vinegar, and mix vigorously until well blended. Store tightly covered at room temperature.

The original recipe was to serve 120, I took the liberty of reducing it for you (love that feature on allrecipes). Sorry the measurements are weird. Also, from recommendations I used half red wine and half balsamic vinegar. Enjoy! It would be very good on a plain ol' salad as well.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Salsa Verde

We made this last night to have with the "Cafe Rio" pork barbecoa tacos. I've been craving fresh salsa, but with the Tomato scare I thought we'd try tomatillos. Tasted very authentic!

7 or 8 tomatillos
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 to 2 jalapeno peppers chopped with seeds (For Mild -only one deseeded)
garlic to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
lime juice - if you want even more zing

Boil tomatillos until they start to pop open - about 10 minutes. Mix all ingredients in a blender and refridgerate. Serve cool.

Asian Noodle Salad

I was just invited to join you all and your cooking adventures. Apparently my rice was a hot item:) I don't really cook much, so my recipe contribution may be limited, but I did want to share one of my most recent favorite salads EVER. (Yeah, I said EVER!) I got it from a friend, but really it came from "The Pioneer Woman Cooks" website She has many other fantastic dishes, but I make this all the time and eat it for lunch for several days in a row.
Asian Noodle Salad
Makes: LOTS (feel free to leave out any part that your family doesn't like, and add in anything else that they do.)

1 packages linguine noodles, cooked, rinsed, and cooled
1/2 to 1 head sliced Napa cabbage
1/2 to 1 head sliced purple cabbage
1/2 to 1 bag baby spinach
1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced thin
1 orange bell pepper, sliced thin (if available)
1 small bag bean sprouts (also called “mung bean sprouts”)
3 sliced scallions
3 peeled, sliced cucumbers
1 bunch chopped cilantro -optional
1 can whole cashews -optional
Crunchy noodles -optional

Juice of 1 lime
8 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons sesame oil
6 tablespoons soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons fresh ginger, chopped
2 cloves chopped garlic
2 hot peppers or jalapenos, chopped (or use red pepper flakes)
More chopped cilantro

Mix together salad ingredients. Whisk together dressing ingredients and pour over salad. Mix with tongs or hands and serve on platter.

*Dressing keeps up to three days before serving, WITHOUT cilantro.
I don't like the cilantro, so I leave it out of the whole salad. Then I just dress the salad as I eat it, that way the veggies don't get yucky over the course of a few days.

Pesto Pasta with Chicken

I got this recipe from Emily Page in the Round Rock ward. I give it 4 stars. Why isn't she on this blog, anyway? Because seriously, I always love the recipes she gives me.

Pesto Ravioli with Chicken

1 lb cooked chicken, cubed
1 package cheese-filled ravioli, thawed (I often have tortellini from Ralphie's fabulous Tortellini Soup around, so I usually use that instead. Any cheese-filled pasta should work. I think this is supposed to be a 19 oz package, which is about 4 cups.)
1 tsp chicken bouillon (or 1 cube)
1 cup water
3 small zucchini, sliced
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup pesto sauce

Add bouillon and water to very large skillet. Stir in pasta. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer about 4 min. or until pasta is tender. Stir in zucchini, pepper, and chicken. Cooker over medium high heat 3 min., stirring occasionally until vegetables are crisp tender. Stir in pesto.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Another Japanese favorite. Because that's how we roll. It's a super easy and very versatile one dish dinner.

Soba noodles*
Whatever veggies you want**
Whatever meat you want***

If you're starting out with raw meat, throw it in a wok with some olive oil and minced garlic or whatever you feel like. Cook until done.

Add vegetables and stir fry for a couple minutes. Remove noodles from package, run under warm water, and tease them apart with your fingers before throwing them in the wok as well. Add the water and seasoning included with the noodles****

If you're using cooked meat, stir fry the veggies, add the noodles and the seasoning, then add the meat at the end and cook just long enough to heat through.

*In my local grocery store, you can find soba noodles in the refrigerated "health food" section by the tofu and organic eggs and stuff. It kind of looks like reconstituted ramen noodles. They might be called soba or yakisoba noodles. Each package usually serves 2, and that's taking into account the fact that you're adding meat and veggies. If you're feeding more people, you're definitely going to need more noodles.

**We like cabbage, minced onion, broccoli florets, carrot, and snow peas. Throw in anything you have on hand and it'll taste great.

***We tend to have this the day after Korean BBQ chicken so we can use the leftovers. It makes the whole thing that much faster and easier.

****The seasoning they include with the noodles is fine, but if you can get your hands on some okonomi sauce instead, it's reeeaaally good. You can find okonomi sauce at most asian grocery stores.

Bean Salad Wraps

Another great recipe for summer
from: Better Homes and Garden Cook Book

4 8inch flour or wheat tortillas
1 15oz can black beans drained and rinsed
1/2 C chopped green sweet pepper (I usually use just one green pepper)
2 Tbs snipped fresh cilantro
1/3 C light mayonnaise dressing or salad dressing
1 Tbs lime juice
Leaf lettuce

In a medium bowl mash black beans slightly, add sweet pepper and cilantro. Stir in light mayo and lime juice. Heat tortillas (since this is such a light meal you don't have to feel bad if you lightly fry them with olive oil, or at least I don't--- or you can just warm them)

Spread mixture evenly over tortillas top with leaf lettuce (I never use lettuce due to an aversion developed during pregnancy with Bentley, but Blaine does).

Very good, easy, light and fast!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Mushroom Stroganoff ***

Got this recipe from, and made it tonight. I thought it was really yummy!

Mushroom Stroganoff

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3/4 pound portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 8 ounces dried egg noodles


  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add egg noodles, and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat, drain, and set aside.
  2. At the same time, melt butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add onion, and cook, stirring until softened. Turn the heat up to medium-high, and add sliced mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms are limp and browned. Remove to a bowl, and set aside.
  3. In the same skillet, stir in vegetable broth, being sure to stir in any browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil, and cook until the mixture has reduced by 1/3. Reduce heat to low, and return the mushrooms and onion to the skillet.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat, stir together the sour cream and flour; then blend into the mushrooms. Return the skillet to the burner, and continue cooking over low heat, just until the sauce thickens. Stir in the parsley, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over cooked egg noodles.
I followed several reviewers suggestions and
1- waited to start the egg noodles until about the time I added the broth to the sauce
2- I added Worcestershire and soy sauce (maybe 4 Tbs of W and 2 Tbs of Soy?) a few minutes after adding the mushrooms
3- I only used about a cup of sour cream
4- I didn't have portabello mushrooms, I just used white kitchen mushrooms (a lot, like two packages)
5- added salt and pepper when served, yum
6- Oh yeah I used beef broth instead of vegetable broth, who has vegetable broth?

Very good, pretty easy!

Pasta Salad

Last night we had pasta salad. It's a hot weather favorite around here. Light enough to satisfy me but substantial enough to satisfy my husband. It's nice because you can kind of throw in whatever you have around, but our favorite combo is:

three color rotini
chopped pepperoni (this could easily be vegetarian if you skip the pepperoni)
sliced black olives
chopped artichoke hearts
Berenstain's Restaurant Recipe Italian dressing (which I have only found at Costco here in Texas)

Broiled Tilapia Parmesan ****

This is a favorite recipe of all time. It is so dang yummy, and tilapia is so cheap. Serve with noodles mixed with butter, spices and parmesan and salad. Yum.

Broiled Tilapia Parmesan


  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened

  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1/8 teaspoon celery salt

  • 2 pounds tilapia fillets


  1. Preheat your oven's broiler. Grease a broiling pan or line pan with aluminum foil.

  2. In a small bowl, mix together the Parmesan cheese, butter, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Season with dried basil, pepper, onion powder and celery salt. Mix well and set aside.

  3. Arrange fillets in a single layer on the prepared pan. Broil a few inches from the heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the fillets over and broil for a couple more minutes. Remove the fillets from the oven and cover them with the Parmesan cheese mixture on the top side. Broil for 2 more minutes or until the topping is browned and fish flakes easily with a fork. Be careful not to over cook the fish.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Black Beans and Rice

Tonight I'm making the Chicken Cordon Bleu (sp?) recipe that Janssen contributed. All day I've been wondering what we were going to have for dinner tonight. Then, I remembered ... The BLOG. So thanks Kristi, for the blog; and Janssen, for the recipe. I love you both. You saved my life.

Per the rules of this blog, I have not made the Black Beans and Rice recipe in the past week, but I make it often enough that, in the eternal chronological scheme of things, it will look like I made it tonight. Mainly, I wanted to contribute something today since I'm taking something. It's another Bean recipe. Let's hear a root-toot-toot for a bean meal. I guess you could call me, Ro-bean. heh heh.

Prep Time: 10 min
Cooking Time: 30 min
Stars: 4
Serves: 4

3 Tbs cooking oil
1 med onion, chopped
2 green or red peppers (or one of each ... go crazy), seeded and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced

In a large, heavy saucepan, heat the oil over moderate heat. Add onion and saute, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Add peppers and garlic and cook 3 minutes longer.

2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp crushed oregano

Add cumin and oregano and cook briefly, stirring.

3 cups cooked black beans, drained (I use 2 cans and moosh the beans with the bottom of the can after they're in the saucepan. It makes for a ... mooshier ... sauce for the rice).
1 Tbs lemon juice (I hear fresh lemon juice tastes less bitter. Alas, I rarely have fresh lemons on hand)
1 Tbs frozen Orange Juice concentrate
2 medium tomatoes, chopped (or 1 can diced tomatoes, slightly drained)
Salt and pepper to taste (if you're using canned stuff, you might forgo the salt)

Stir these ingredients into the sauteed mixture and simmer, covered, 5 minutes, adding a small amount of stock, water or tomato juice if needed to thin the mixture to desired consistency. Simmer for about 20 minutes more, covered.

MEANWHILE: have some yummy rice (I like brown basmati) cooking in the rice cooker that you got at your wedding reception.

Serve over hot, cooked brown rice.

If you want it more pungent (that's an unfortunate word to describe food), stir some chopped onion and chopped green chiles, a little lemon juice and a chopped tomato into the rice before serving. Sliced bananas on the side will help put out the fire (per the recipe book. I've nevered follow this last paragraph. If you do, let us know what you think).

Thanks, again. Long live "What's Cookin?"


Kristi called for posts! So here's the only thing I've really made this week beside cold cereal and oatmeal (Aaron's been out of town and I dislike cooking for just me).

I love smoothies but always had trouble figuring out exactly the right ratio of ingredients. I always thought that you couldn't screw up a smoothie. But trust me, you can. I've finally figured it out and I will now share it with you. Even though I'm sure everyone else in the world knows how to make a decent smoothie.

1 cup yogurt (I like vanilla Dannon light and fit)
1/2 cup juice (I like cranberry)
1/2 cup ice
1/2 cup fresh or frozen fruit (current favorite: frozen blackberries)

We have a magic bullet (best. invention. ever) and this recipe just fits in one of the larger (16 oz, I think?) cups and makes the perfect single serving smoothie. I've made with tons of different fruit and juice combos and it comes out tasty every time.

Chicken Cordon Bleu ***

One of my friends gave me a chicken cordon bleu recipe a couple of years ago and I made it for a while until one day Bart said "I don't think we should make this ever again. I don't like swiss cheese." Well.

(Also, I had made this dish at least 15 times).

Fortunately, just a week later, my mom sent me a new cookbook that had a recipe for chicken cordon bleu that was filled with cream cheese. Bart is, if possible, an even bigger fan of cream cheese than I am.

People, this is the best chicken cordon bleu ever. In fact, I am desperate for some right this very moment (yes, it is not even ten a.m. I make no apologies).

Chicken Cordon Bleu
(from Y'all Come Eat)

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
6 ounces of softened cream cheese
1/2 tsp paprika (you can do chili powder, supposedly, if you like it spicy)
1/4 cup diced ham (I just chop up some lunch meat)

2 eggs
Breadcrumbs (preferably seasoned. Or just sprinkle in some salt and pepper and various herbs).

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Pound each of the chicken breasts with a rolling pin until they are flat and even. Mix the cream cheese, ham, and paprika in a bowl. Scoop 1/4 of the mix into the center of each chicken breast and wrap the chicken around the cream cheese (try not to drool with the deliciousness).

Get three plates (small, probably) and put about 1/2 a cup of flour on the first, 2 beaten eggs on the second one, and 1 cup or so of breadcrumbs on the third. Roll each of the chicken lumps (er, bleus) in the flour first, then the eggs, then the breadcrumbs. Then stick them in a greased casserole dish and cook them up for about 25 minutes (or you know, until they don't look pink and filled with delicious salmonella).

And eat. And eat. And eat. Until you die.

Coconut Rice

Last night for enrichment we had a luau. I was supposed to bring this rice. Well, I burnt my rice, really bad. Once I got to enrichment, however, and tasted the other people's rice it was really yummy. So be sure you actually simmer on like low and try it out, may your success be better than mine.

Ashley Z's Thai Coconut Rice
1 Cup uncooked rice (basmati, jasmine or long grain)
1 14 oz can coconut milk
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. turmeric
1/4 tsp. finely chopped fresh ginger
1/4 cup coconut flakes
Cooking Directions:
-Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan.
-Stir well to combine
-cook over medium-high hear, stirring until mixture comes to a low boil.
-Immediately reduce heat to low
-cover and cook for 18 minutes
-fluff with fork.
-cover and let sit for 5 minutes
-garnish rice with additional coconut

P.S. I didn't want to buy that turmeric spice because it was $5, and once I got there I realized that the spice made the rice really yellow, so I was kind of glad mine burned because it would have been fairly obvious that I skimped out on the turmeric; I am not sure if it added taste or just color. Anyway. Post a recipe because the blog is dying and it is so sad : (

BLT pizza, minus the L

For the sake of keeping the blog alive I will tell you we had homemade pizza the other night and it was so good. If you haven't discovered yet, the best toppings for a pizza are bacon and tomatoes and it is extra convenient because it is an easy way to cook your tomatoes so you can actually eat them (have you heard about the whole salmonella thing?).

Anyway, I have tried to make my own crust before and it never works, so I bought a jiffy pizza crust mix for like $.33 or something. Then we topped with ragu pizza sauce, bacon (precooked), tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, mozzarella and Parmesan. It was the best pizza I have ever made.

Any good recipes for pizza crust out there?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Golden Curry

I am new to the whole Asian foods thing. Gretchen and Ralphie were going on and on about this box (okay maybe not on and on, but they mentioned it). This package can be found in the Asian section of the grocery store and is like two or three dollars.

I followed the recipe on the back of the box. Which was like some oil, some meat (I used chicken), carrots, bell pepper, cut up potatoes and some water (box says about two cups, Ralph said about five cups so I compromised and used four cups).

It was a fast meal and it grew on me as I was eating it. I didn't know what to expect because I had never had curry. I didn't really like it at first, but by the end I got up and got seconds, which I don't normally do. I also maybe would have liked it more on a cold winter night instead of on a hot Texas day where it was over a hundred degrees out.

So, it's worth getting the box and trying it out, especially if you like curry.

Crock pot burritos

These are definitely a crowd pleaser and before we got in to making cafe rio style burritos and salads we would always make these. They have a great smokey flavor, so delicious!

Four Stars!

Crock Pot Burritos

1.5 lbs of some type of steak meat like boneless round or something or a roast of some kind, any kind will do

1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes

2 cloves garlic

1 can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce if you are BRAVE and want your mouth to burn off. Since I am not I use jalapeƱos (like the kind you put on nachos) and a few dashes of liquid smoke (chipotle peppers are just smoked jalepenos, and if you don't have liquid smoke you are missing out in life). I am sure you could just use the jalapeƱos, even fresh ones, I like the smoke flavor and liquid smoke isn’t too expensive, plus you could use it to make beef jerky later, and that yummy steak marinade (which I had again and love, first steaks in my life I haven't dunked completely in A1).


Chili Powder



Four tortillas





Sour cream

1pkg flour tortillas

Put the meat, canned tomatoes, some cilantro, dashes of cumin and chili powder, jalepenos and 1T liquid smoke in crock pot. Cook for 5-6 hrs, until you can shred with a fork. Early on in the day I make a salsa fresca by putting freshly diced tomatoes and onion together in a bowl with some lemon juice, salt and pepper and a little cilantro. Cover and let the salsa sit in the fridge while the meat cooks. Shred the meat. Serve with the salsa fresca and some fresh guacamole and cheese. I usually wrap the tortillas in foil and put in the oven on 200 for about five minutes before serving, or you can fry them, both are good!

Continuing My Homage to Ralphie

It's me again. Anyone else making dinner out there? ;)

So anyway, I got this recipe from Ralphie too and it's become quite a favorite.

Tortellini Soup

2 Tbsp butter
6 garlic cloves, chopped (I usually use the jarred minced garlic in oil)
4 cups chicken broth (I usually use 4 cups water with 4 bouillon cubes. This recipe could be vegetarian if you use a vegetable based broth.)
2 1/2 cups frozen cheese tortellini or 1/2 of a 19 oz. package
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes (with juice)
6 oz baby spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp. dried basil
optional: Parmesan cheese

Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and saute about 1 1/2 minutes. Add broth and bring to a boil. Add tortellini and cook about 5 min. Add tomatoes and juice. Bring to boil again, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer about 5 min. Stir in spinach (it may look like too much but it wilts quickly) and basil and heat until spinach is wilted. Serve sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.

Ralphie's Famous Buttermilk Pancakes

More breakfast for dinner for us last night. Pancakes, fresh strawberries, and scrambled eggs with cheese. I got this recipe (obviously) from Ralphie. FOUR STARS. We've both never had a better pancake!

3 cups flour
3 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder (3 tsp.)
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
3 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup milk
3 eggs
1/3 cup melted butter

1. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat together buttermilk, milk, eggs, and melted butter. Keep the two mixtures separate until you are ready to cook.
2. Heat a non-stick griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. You can flick water across the surface and if it beads up and sizzles, it's ready!
3. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture, using a wooden spoon or fork to blend. Stir until it's just blended together. Do not over stir! Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/2 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

Variation: Don't forget the indulgent variation of sprinkling a few chocolate chips onto the pancake right after you pour the batter on the griddle!

Note: This recipe makes a lot and is difficult to half but very easy to make 1/3 or 2/3 since almost all the ingredients come in threes. For 1/3 just use about 2 Tbsp. + 2 tsp milk and 1 Tbsp + 2 tsp butter. On the other hand, I always double the recipe, freeze extra and make it so I don't have to think about what to feed the kids for a couple weeks!