Friday, November 28, 2008

Pumpkin Cake

I totally stole this from the site! It was a big hit yesterday. They also suggested you could use a chocolate cake mix. So easy!

One Cake mix- I used yellow
1 -15 ounce can pumpkin filling

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl mix cake mix with pumpkin filling using a hand mixer or a stand mixer. Beat on medium for 2 minutes. Pour batter into a greased 7 x 11 inch baking dish. Bake for 28 minutes or until tooth pick comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting. Serves 8.

Apple Cider Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
2 T. apple cider
1/2 t. pumpkin pie spice

In a small bowl blend all ingredients until smooth. Pour over Pumpkin Cake letting it drizzle down the sides of the cake. Let set before covering.

Monday, November 24, 2008


This recipe was presented at one of our Gourmet Night meetings almost 2 years ago. The recipe comes from Cooks Illustrated, which is a favorite recipe source for the lady who hosted this particular gourmet night. Although I do find this recipe to be more complicated than most of the dinners I put together, I highly recommend making it and I do so as often as I can because it's soooo delicious!

Simplified Cassoulet with Pork and Kielbasa

This dish can be made without brining the chicken, but we recommend that you do so. To ensure the most time-efficient preparation of the cassoulet, while the chicken is brining and the beans are simmering, prepare the remaining ingredients. Look for dried flageolet beans in specialty food stores. If you can't find a boneless blade-end pork loin roast, a boneless Boston butt makes a fine substitution. Additional salt is not necessary because the brined chicken adds a good deal of it. If you skip the brining step, add salt to taste before serving.

Serves 8

1 cup kosher salt or 1/2 cup table salt
1 cup granulated sugar
10 bone in chicken thighs (about 3 1/2 pounds), skin and excess fat removed

6 slices high-quality sandwich bread , cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 3 cups)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted

1 pound dried flageolet beans or Great Northern beans, picked over and rinsed
1 medium onion , peeled and left whole
1 medium head garlic , outer papery skin removed and top 1/2 inch sliced off
1 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 slices bacon (about 6 ounces), chopped medium
1 pound boneless pork loin roast (blade-end), trimmed of excess fat and silver skin and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 small onion , chopped fine
2 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes , drained
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Ground black pepper
3 1/2 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cup dry white wine (you can sub more chicken stock in pace of the wine)
1/2 pound kielbasa sausage, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch slices

1. Brining the Chicken: In gallon-sized zipper-lock plastic bag, dissolve salt and sugar in 1 quart cold water. Add chicken, pressing out as much air as possible; seal and refrigerate until fully seasoned, about 1 hour. Remove chicken from brine, rinse thoroughly under cold water, and pat dry with paper towels. Refrigerate until ready to use.

2. Preparing the Topping: While chicken is brining, adjust oven rack to upper-middle position; heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix bread crumbs and butter in small baking dish. Bake, tossing occasionally, until light golden brown and crisp, 8 to 12 minutes. Cool to room temperature; set aside.

3. Bring the beans, whole onion, garlic head, salt, pepper and 8 cups water to a boil in a stockpot or Dutch oven over high heat. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the beans are almost fully tender, 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. Drain the beans and discard the onion and garlic.

4. While the beans are cooking, fry the bacon in a Dutch oven over medium heat until just beginning to crisp and most of the fat has rendered, 5 to 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, add half of the bacon to the pot with the beans; transfer the remaining bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside. Increase the heat to medium-high; when the bacon fat is shimmering, add half of the chicken thighs, fleshy-side down; cook until lightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Using tongs, turn chicken pieces and cook until lightly browned on second side, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to large plate; repeat with remaining thighs and set aside. Drain off all but 2 tablespoons fat from pot. Return pot to medium heat; add pork pieces and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add chopped onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add minced garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, thyme, bay leaf, cloves, and pepper to taste; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in chicken broth and wine, scraping up browned bits off bottom of pot with wooden spoon. Submerge the chicken in the pot, adding any accumulated juices. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer about 40 minutes. Remove the cover and continue to simmer until the chicken and pork are fully tender, 20 to 30 minutes more.

5. Gently stir the kielbasa, drained beans and reserved bacon into the pot with the chicken and pork; remove and discard the thyme and bay leaf and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the croutons evenly over the surface and bake at 425, uncovered, until the flavors have melded and the croutons are deep golden brown, about 15 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes and serve.

Crock Pot Ham

Is your oven going to be full of turkey and pies tomorrow? Consider slow cooking your ham to free up some oven time. Or this is perfect for cooking ham in the summer without heating up the house!

For a delicious, no-fuss ham that is juicy, good and does not monopolize your oven time, try this slow cooker sensation with only two ingredients or dress it up with your favorite additions – whole cloves, pineapple rings or plain if you don’t like a sweet glaze.

2 cups packed brown sugar
1 (8 pound) cured, bone-in picnic ham

1. Spread about 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar on the bottom of the slow cooker crock. Place the ham flat side down into the slow cooker - you might have to trim it a little to make it fit. Use your hands to rub the remaining brown sugar onto the ham. Cover, and cook on Low for 8 hours.

Moroccan Veggie Stew

6 cups water
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups 1 1/2-inch carrot chunks
2 cups 1 1/2-inch peeled sweet potato
2 cups 1 1/2-inch onion chunks
2 cups peeled 1 1/2-inch turnip chunks
2 cups shredded green or white cabbage
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup chopped celery
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
3 tablespoons dried parsley

2 cups dried couscous
4 to 5 cups boiling vegetable broth

To make the stew: Combine all the stew ingredients in a crockpot and cook on HIGH for 6 or more hours. Adjust seasonings.
To make the couscous: Pour the boiling broth over couscous in a medium bowl and allow to sit for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork.

Serve stew hot over couscous.

Cranberry Pecan Bars

This is my special holiday recipe that I created a couple of years ago for a cookie exchange; VERY few people have this recipe (until now, that is). I hope you enjoy this as much as I have!

Cranberry Pecan Bars


Shortbread base

1/2 cup salted butter, softened
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour

Cranberry pecan filling

3/4 - 1 cup fresh cranberries, chopped
1 egg
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
3 tbls butter, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp allspice
pinch of salt
1/2 cup pecans, chopped


Preheat oven to 350.

Base - Combine butter and sugar in mixing bowl and beat at medium speed until well mixed. Reduce speed to low and add flour. Press dough into ungreased 8 inch square pan. Prick with a fork and bake for 18-20 minutes until lightly browned.

Filling - Lightly beat egg in mixing bowl and add sugar, corn syrup, butter, vanilla, allspice and salt. Stir after the addition of each ingredient.

Chop cranberries and spread evenly onto the baked shortbread. Pour egg mixture over the cranberries and sprinkle with chopped pecans.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the filling looks set and is brown on top. Cool completely before cutting.

Overnight Oatmeal

A hot, filling breakfast with no work in the morning!

1 cup EACH: Barley, Steel Cut Oats, Wheat Berries
10 cups water
1 apple, peeled, cored and diced
1 handful dried cranberries
1 handful pecans
1 tablespoon butter
brown sugar and cinnamon to taste


Put in crock pot just before bedtime, cook on low all night. Serve with milk. Reheats well in the microwave.

NOTE: If you like crunchy nuts you might want to toss in the pecans in the morning.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Stir Fry Chicken with Snow Peas

Here is another single serving meal using my frozen chicken chunks to create a fast and filling healthy meal.


1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup onion, diced
1/2 cup snow peas
1 cup spinach, fresh
1/2 cup water chestnuts
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 cup alfalfa sprouts
1/4 cup kidney beans
1-2 oz chicken chunks
1.5 tsp safflower oil
1 clove minced garlic

Cooked brown rice

Chop veggies and set aside in a bowl.

Add oil to skillet, saute garlic and onions for 1 minute, then add all other ingredients and simmer until everything is hot. Serve over brown rice.

NOTE: I forgot to mention, I have high blood pressure and usually avoid adding salt to most dishes so please feel free to add in favorite flavorings and spices. I think this would be great with some crushed red pepper flakes or spicy szechuan sauce, but my husband would never touch it as black pepper is too spicy for him.

Avocado and Tomato Scramble

This is another healthy family favorite which packs in 16 grams of protein and only 215 calories and 7 grams of fat! It's very filling, which is why my husband loves it.


1 tbls diced avocado
1/2 cup mushrooms
1/4 cup diced onion
1 medium tomato
3 egg whites
1/2 tsp safflower oil
1 slice of rye, pumpernickel or flourless bread

Optional Spices
black pepper
dried parsley

Slice and dice tomato, onion, avocado and mushrooms, set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites and desired spices.

Add oil to non-stick skillet, add onion and cook for 1-2 minutes, add in mushrooms, cook for one minutes, add in tomato, cook for 1-2 minutes, toss in avocado and egg mixture and scramble over low to medium heat until eggs are cooked.

Pile this on your toasted slice of rye or eat with bread on the side.

You can attempt an omelet with this, but I find there's way too many ingredients and I end up making a scramble, instead :) However, if you prefer your veggies uncooked, an omelet is ideal. Cook the eggs, layer veggies on one half of egg, fold over and serve.

Chinese Chicken Salad

Another super simple and refreshing salad! It's also healthy, which is a bonus when it tastes so good :) This recipe is for a single serving salad.

1-2 oz chicken
2 cups lettuce
1/4 cup mandarin oranges
2 tsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 - 1 tsp safflower oil
1 tbls slivered almonds
1/4 cup bean sprouts

Optional croutons - 1 piece of rye or pumpernickel bread twice toasted and cut into pieces.

I love to buy those super huge packs of chicken breasts when they go on sale (I'm a thrifty cook!), cut the entire package into approximately 1 inch cubes, cook in a non-stick skillet with a squirt of Pam and a heavy layer of Mrs Dash Herb & Garlic seasoning. Once the chicken pieces are cooked through, I drain off any excess liquids that did not cook out and then place in a freezer safe container and store in the freezer. This way I can pull out small quantities of cooked chicken as needed for various recipes (and the Mrs Dash seasoning goes well in so many of my recipes).

So for this salad, I would snag 1-2 oz of frozen chicken pieces from the freezer place in the microwave for 30 seconds and my salad is well on it's way to being made in less than 5 minutes.

Once chicken is warmed, you mix the oil, vinegar and soy sauce to make your dressing. Place lettuce in your serving dish, layer all other ingredients, drizzle with dressing and VIOLA - quick, healthy, delicious salad.

Sweet Pecan Apple Salad

About 5 years ago, I was asked to bring "something red" to a church dinner as we were having a Valentine's Day party. This was definitely the first time I had ever thought of food based on it's color. I agreed to bring something red, having no idea what I was going to prepare.

I love the earthy flavor of beets (my husband says they smell like dirt and won't touch them) and combined with the slightly, crispy crunch of a sweet apple and caramel coated pecans this is a simple, colorful salad full of fun textures.

1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp butter
1/3 cup pecan halves
3 tbsp oil
5 tsp cider vinegar
1 can (14.5 oz) sliced beets, drained
1 medium golden delicious apple, cored and diced

1. Melt sugar and butter in skillet; add pecans. Cook and stir over low heat 3-4 minutes until caramel colored; cool.

2. Combine oil and vinegar; toss with beets and apple. Add pecans just before serving and serve oer lettuce, if desired.

NOTE: The color of the beets will bleed onto the apple. If you want to keep the colors separate for presentation, toss apples and beets in oil and vinegar separately then layer on your serving plate.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Orange Pie

I've been eating this cream and refreshing pie for more than 20 years and it's still a favorite that I never get tired of. This orange pie is great for a light and cool dessert in warm weather, but I am craving it now because I have a sore throat and I was thinking of how soothing it would be.

So here is the orange pie:

1/2 cup self rising flour
2 tbsl butter or margarine, softened
1 egg
1/2 cup oil
1 cup chopped pecans
2 small packagaes of instant french vanilla pudding (you can use regular vanilla, coconut cream, whatever suits your fancy)

Mix the above items and press into a 9X13 pan and bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes. Cool completely.

1 can sweetened condensed milk
8 oz Cool Whip
1 pt sour cream
1/2 cup Tang

Mix the filling ingredients in a large bowl and put in cooled pie crust. Chill for 24 hours. Keep and serve cold.

My mom likes to make these even easier by using graham cracker crusts. The filling is enough for two 9 inch pie crusts.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Brown Sugar Pound Cake

I LOVE this cake!!!! It's one of my all-time favorites for simple and tasty desserts. I took it from a Cooking Light magazine many years ago.

Cooking Spray
3 tbls graham cracker crumbs or plain bread crumbs
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 tbls vanilla
3 large eggs
1 cup fat free milk

1. Preheat oven to 350. Coat a 10-inch tube pan with cooking spray; dust with graham cracker or bread crumbs.

2. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and stir well.

3. Beat butter in a large bowl on medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually add the brown sugar and vanilla, beating until well blended. Add eggs 1 at a time beating well afer each addition.

4. Add flour mixture to the sugar mixture alternately with milk, beating at low speed, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

5. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour 5 minutes or until wooden pick comes out clean.

6. Cool in pan for 10 minutes on a wire rack then remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack.

Raisin Nut Bar

As I am preparing for our new baby to arrive (nesting), I found a stack of recipes I've not used in awhile and decided to share them. This is a healthy snacking favorite! My father-in-law loves how filling (and LARGE) these are and I like how quickly they can be made. This is a single serving size but is really large enough for 2 snacks, in my opinion.

1/4 tsp vanilla
5 tbls uncooked oatmeal
1 tsp raisins
4 egg whites
1 tsp safflower oil
1 tbls slivered almonds
1/4 cup applesauce, unsweetened
1/4-1/2 tsp cinnamon, to taste

You could add a packet of splenda or use sweetened applesauce if you wanted to make a bit sweeter. I use homemade unsweetened applesauce and my applesauce tends to be sweeter than store bought unsweetened applesauce.

Combine all ingredients, spray microwave safe bowl with cooking spray and add mixture. Microwave on high for 5 minutes. Continue cooking in 30 second increments until done. Let cool and eat. I would make larger batches and store in the refrigerator.

Please remember, this is health food...not a decadent dessert :)

Lemon Bars

These are to die for.

Recipe courtesy of Alice Medrich (from her book Alice Medrich's Cookies and Brownies)


8 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
1.5 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1/2 cup strained fresh lemon juice
2 to 3 Tbsp powdered sugar for dusting

Directions:1. Line an 8-inch square pan with foil on all 4 sides. Preheat oven to 350 F. Position a rack in the lower third of oven.

For crust: melt butter in medium saucepan. Remove from heat and stir in sugar, vanilla, and salt. Add the flour and mix just until incorporated. Press the dough evenly over the bottom of the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the crust is well browned at the edges and lightly browned in center.

For topping: while the crust is baking, stir together the sugar and flour in a medium bowl until well mixed. Whisk in the eggs. Stir in the lemon zest and juice. When crust is ready, turn the oven down to 300 F and slide the rack out without removing the pan. Pour filling over hot crust.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until the topping is puffed at the edges and no longer jiggles in the center when pan is tapped. Set on a rack and cool completely in pan. When cooled, lift the foil liner and transfer to cutting board and cut into 16 bars. Sieve powdered sugar over bars just before serving.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Jane's Cake

That is not the official title, but it should be :) My mother-in-law, Jane, loves this cake and I had hoped to make it for her on her birthday, but I couldn't get to the store to purchase the mixes it called for (I'm usually a 'from-scratch' kind of person so I don't stock these sort of items). However, the cake is so good it's worth planning for.

This is super chocolately and brownie like. The reason I like this recipe is because it's thick and rich like a brownie, it still holds itself like a cake! It's easy to put together and never a piece goes to least that's true in our house.

1 (18.25 ounce) package devil's food cake mix
1 (3.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt pan. Have all ingredients at room temperature.

2. In a large bowl, stir together cake mix and pudding mix. Make a well in the center and pour in eggs, sour cream, oil and water. Beat on low speed until blended. Scrape bowl, and beat 4 minutes on medium speed. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pan.

3. Bake in the preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Taco Soup

1 lb. hamburger
1 med. onion- chopped
1 can of Pinto Beans (Do not drain)
1 can of Kidney Beans " "
1 can of Hominy " "
2 cans diced tomatoes " "
1 can Rotel tomatoes " " (we use mild, but feel free to go with hot)
1 dry pack of Taco Mix
1 dry pack of Ranch dressing
1 tsp. chili powder
1 cup water (if needed)

Brown Meat with onions

Mix all ingredients together in a slow cooker (yes everything is already cooked, this just helps the flavors meld)

Add hambuger mixture and stir well

When this has had time (at least 2 hours on low) to meld; serve with Fritos cornchips in the bottom of bowl and top with your favorite cheese. (sour cream is a good addendum to the cheese).

Strawberry Cheesecake Trifle

2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese
2 C. powdered sugar
1C. sour cream
1 1/2 t. vanilla extract (divided use)
2 T. plus 1/4 t. almond extract (divided use)
1/2 pint whipping cream
4 T. sugar (divided use)
1 angel food cake, torn into bite-size pieces
2 quarts fresh strawberries, cleaned, stemmed and thinly sliced

In a large bowl, cream together cream cheese and powdered sugar. Add sour cream, 1/2 teaspoon of the vanilla and 1/4 teaspoon of the almond extract. Set aside.

In a small, deep bowl, whip the whipping cream, 1 teaspoon of the vanilla and 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture. Fold in cake pieces and set aside.

Combine strawberries, remaining 3 tablespoons sugar and remaining 2 tablespoons almond extract.

In a large glass serving bowl, layer ingredients in this order: one-third of the strawberries, one-half of the cake mixture, another third of the berries, remaining cake mixture, remaining strawberries.

Cover and chill well before serving.

So-Easy Cherry Fudge Cake

1 (18.25-oz) package devils food cake mix
1 (21 oz) can cherry pie filling
2 large eggs
1 tsp. almond extract
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup milk
5 Tbsp. butter
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Beat first 4 ingredients at low speed; increase speed to med and beat 1 minute.
Pour batter into a greased and floured 13x9 pan

Bake at 350 for 27 to 30 min. or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool cake on wire rack for 10 minutes

Bring sugar milk and butter tio a boil in a heavy 2-qt. saucepan over med-high heat, stirring occasionally; boil 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in chocolate morsels until melted and smooth. Quickly spread frosting over warm cake. Cool completely(about 1 hour) Enjoy

We're missing desserts

We seem to be slim on you have any yummy, easy favorites to share? I know my parents have a new favorite chocolate cake that gets better every day it sits. I am waiting for that recipe *hint, hint for my dad*

I do not often make dessert and I do not enjoy baking very much so I have few desserts in my recipe collection. And the one I make the best is made with strawberries which aren't very tasty or cheap this time of year. However, I'll post it anyway just to get you thinking about tasty treats you enjoy :)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Balsamic Chicken

This goes right along with the Dijon chicken as it is super simple and quick with minimal ingredients.

Chicken Breasts
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

Cut chicken breasts into 4oz portions (a lot of chicken breasts found in the grocery are 11-12oz which is 3 full adult size portions per breast). Salt and pepper each chicken piece. Spray saute pan with cooking oil and and heat over medium high heat. Once pan is hot, add chicken pieces and cook until brown on each side and almost cooked through. Add balsamic vinegar and chicken broth to the pan and reduce. Careful not to over cook the chicken while the broth is reducing, if necessary remove the chicken from the pan and return to sauce once thickened.

I also double this sauce as my family loves the sticky sweetness of the balsamic.

Dijon Chicken

Super simple and quick with minimal ingredients.

Chicken breasts or tenderloins
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup chicken broth
salt & pepper

Cut your chicken breast into 1-2 inch strips or use tenderloins as is. Salt and pepper each chicken piece. Spray saute pan with cooking oil and heat to medium high. When pan is hot, add chicken pieces and cook on both sides until chicken is brown and almost cooked through. Add chicken broth and Dijon mustard to saute pan with chicken. Stir until smooth and reduce until sauce thickens.

I actually double the sauce as my family loves this served over rice. This is a basic recipe that has good flavor but you can add your favorite herbs and spices to dress it up for your taste buds.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Yummy Salmon!

I've been using this simple recipe for years and it always receives great reviews, even from people who do not like fish. Have any of you met my mother-in-law? She has a saying that covers everything she will not goes something like this:

"I will not eat anything that speaks another language, swims in the ocean or is blue."

Technically, Italian foods like spaghetti and pizza are perfectly ok but she will not eat Mexican, Chinese, Indian, the list goes on and on. Seafood is really off her list, she can not stand to be in the house when I'm cooking seafood. HOWEVER! I did get her to try this salmon once and she even said, "It's not bad." That's HUGE!

So anyway, on to the recipe. My dad just called and wanted the recipe so we decided this was a good place to share it. When you cook this, take a picture for me so we can post one :)


1 1/2 pounds salmon fillets
lemon pepper to taste
garlic powder to taste
salt to taste
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup vegetable oil


Season salmon fillets with lemon pepper, garlic powder, and salt.

In a small bowl, stir together soy sauce, brown sugar, water, and vegetable oil until sugar is dissolved. Place fish in a large resealable plastic bag with the soy sauce mixture, seal, and turn to coat. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Preheat grill for medium heat.

Lightly oil grill grate. Place salmon on the preheated grill, and discard marinade. Cook salmon for 6 to 8 minutes per side, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

I have used frozen salmon fillets (4-6oz each) and large fresh salmon fillets weighing 2 lbs or so. I do not use the lemon pepper as my husband does not like pepper, but when he's not around, I do use pepper. I also just add the pepper and garlic powder to the marinade in the bag. I cut back on the oil a bit, I think salmon is a fairly oily fish and does not need a lot of extra oil. I do not typically add extra salt as soy sauce is so salty to my taste buds so experiment and see what works for you. I've also broiled this in the oven when it's too cold to grill.

Over-used Recipes Swap

Monday, November 3, 2008

Mediterranean Rice

Once again, totally stolen from Wild Mountain Foods. It was simple, flavorful and we did not use the golden raisins, but could definitely see how the raisins would compliment the rice and I'll use the raisins next time. I've not found a flavored rice my kids would eat, but all three of them cleaned their plates tonight!

Mom's Mediterranean Pilaf
3 c. chicken broth
1 1/2 c. uncooked rice
4 Tbsp oil
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp curry
1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 c. golden raisins (optional, duh.)

In a 1-quart saucepan, bring chicken broth to a boil. In a medium saucepan, mix dry rice, oil, turmeric, curry, soy sauce, and raisins. Pour in broth. Cover and cook over low heat for 20 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.

Honey Soy Chicken

I totally stole this from another food blog that my sister-in-law belongs to. It was SOOOO yummy and super simple! My kids could not get enough, Connor asked for thirds, the girls asked for seconds and Lillee is not a fan of meat.

We served this with Mediterranean Rice, sauteed cauliflower and roasted Brussels sprouts.

From: Everyday Foods magazine

Serves 4
Prep time: 5 min
Total time: 40 min

1/2 cup honey
2 Tbsp soy sauce
8 skinless chicken drumsticks (3 lbs.)
course salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 475. Line a shallow roasting pan or 9X13" baking dish with foil. In a large bowl, mix together honey, soy sauce, and 1/3 cup water. Add chicken, and toss to coat; season with salt and pepper.

2. Bake chicken, basting with juices from edges of pan every 10 minutes, until well browned and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the drumstick (avoiding the bone) read 165, about 30 - 40 minutes. Serve chicken drizzled with pan juices.

Changes we made: we doubled the sauce as we were feeding 9 people, did not line the pan with foil and used boneless skinless chicken thighs and breast tenderloins. Cooked for 10 minutes, flipped each piece rather than basting and cooked for 10 minutes more. You could use less water, or none at all, for a thicker sauce but we found that the consistency as stated in recipe was perfect to add some sweetness to the chicken without having a really sticky sweet sauce.

Over-used Recipes Swap

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Now I'm thinking about breakfast foods that can also be used for any other meal. I've never eaten quiche and really liked it until I went to a baby shower a few years ago and had quiche made by my very french friend, Agnes. It was a simple cheese quiche but I loved it! The flavor was light yet sharp, the texture of the crust was tender yet substantial enough to handle the filling and the egg was so fluffy and perfect.

I'm not a baker; I don't have the patience nor the ability to be precise with ingredients, it's just a stretch for me. However, Agnes showed me how to make pie dough and she didn't measure a thing! She actually tried to measure ingredients just to make everyone else comfortable :) I've slightly altered the dough recipe over the years, but I still credit it all to Agnes!

So here is the basic dough:

Approximately 2 cups all purpose flour (cold! I put in the freezer for 15-20 minutes)
1 stick butter cut into small pieces (I cut the pieces then place in the freezer with the flour)
salt (I guess about 1/2 tsp - 1 tsp depending on whether you're butter is salted)
about 3/4 cup cold water

Put flour into a food processer, add salt and pulse to mix. Add the butter and pulse until you have chunks of butter about the size of small peas.

Begin adding the cold water (I would start with 1/2 cup and add more as needed) then pulse just until dough begins to form. You can bring it all together by hand.

Turn onto a floured work surface, knead as little as possible (adding a bit of flour if dough is too wet) then roll gently with a rolling pin.

Transfer to a greased pie plate (I prefer a deep pie plate for a quiche).

Now for the filling! Our favorite is simply ham and cheese, however we really like bacon and mushroom and I love spinach and tomato.

I thinly slice Gruyere cheese with a vegetable peeler and make a thin layer across the bottom of the pan with dough; you don't need a lot of Gruyere as it has a strong flavor. I add ham chunks, cooked and crumbled bacon, fresh mushrooms, baby spinach or whatever I want to add in, but always use Gruyere cheese!

Using my pampered chef measuring/mixing/pouring bowl I crack 4 eggs and add enough milk to reach the 2 cup line (Agnes insists on whole, but I have used 1% and skim, but the result requires longer cooking time as the eggs are more watery and less creamy). Whip eggs with a fork, add salt and pepper (and/or garlic, onion powder, whatever works for you!) to taste then pour over the cheese and other ingredients. Bake at 375 degrees for 35-45 minutes until eggs are set.

If I'm making tomato and spinach quiche, I thinly slice the tomato and place on a paper towel. I then salt them to help draw moisture from the tomatoes. After letting them sit for a few minutes, I wipe off the salt, pat dry then flip the tomato and repeat the process. I then layer the tomatoes on top, after adding the eggs.

Get creative, have fun and enjoy quiche the way it's meant to be enjoyed!

Over-used Recipes Swap

Peanut Butter Pancakes

I took this from my parents who saw it on the Food Network, I believe.

Mix up your favorite pancake mix (for these pancakes I use an easy mix that you just add water to - Krusteaz Brand - and follow package directions) then add peanut butter. I don't measure, I just scoop a cup or so into a microwave bowl, nuke until thin to make for easy stirring then pour into already mixed batter. You may need to add extra water to thin the mix a bit, incorporate it all then cook as a normal pancake.

Now comes the really special part, top with your favorite jelly for a yummy treat! You can smear it on or soften some in the microwave and pour on like syrup. Grape jelly is REALLY good warmed and poured on, but my kids like them smeared with strawberry jelly, honey and even syrup.

Buttermilk Pancakes

This is more What's For Breakfast but I was thinking about these pancakes and felt I needed to share them.

3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons white sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups buttermilk (see NOTE below)
1/2 cup milk
3 eggs
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla

1. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat together buttermilk, milk, eggs, vanilla and melted butter. Keep the two mixtures separate until you are ready to cook.

2. Heat a lightly oiled 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, lumps are ok, "just walk away," in the words of Alton Brown! Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/2 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

NOTE: I don't keep buttermilk in the fridge so I make buttermilk as I need it. Use 1 tablespoon of vinegar - I've used white and apple cider for this - to one cup of milk, let sit for 5 minutes to thicken.