Saturday, August 16, 2008

Breakfast 8-16-08

This morning we had pop-up pancakes, sausage and eggs. I used nectarines and plums for the pancakes, Jenni-O Breakfast Lovers Turkey Sausage and Trader Joe's free-range eggs. Yum!

Dinner 8-15-08

Sorry I haven't posted anything in a while! I am going to keep posting simple for a while, to get back into the groove of food blogging.

Last night for supper we had maple salmon, roasted brussel sprouts, and rice in a mystery sauce. For the salmon, I salted it and put a little Trader Joe's pure maple syrup on it and sauted it in a skillet. My family really liked that. The brussel sprouts were frozen and I just tossed them in olive oil, salt and pepper, and broiled them in the toaster oven. The rice was an experiment. I made a sauce a few days ago for pasta, with some leftover tomato sauce and coconut milk and a bunch of different seasonings, but was unhappy with the result, so I decided to try and cook the rice in it. I thought the consistency of the rice and sauce was good, but the flavor didn't really appeal to me. My family said they liked it, but I don't think they really ate any of it. Hehe.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

MMMMMMM...Eggs Benedict

This is my favorite breakfast of all time! It's a juggling act to get everything done at the same time, since the hollandaise has to be used immediately, and the eggs won't stay warm without overcooking them. So, if you are cooking for a large crowd, I recommend an extra hand to help with the juggling in the kitchen.

Eggs Benedict (serves 4)


  • 4 english muffins
  • butter or butter substitute
  • 8 slices canadian bacon
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1 Tbs water
  • 1 Tbs lemon juice (this comes out slightly too lemony for Ben, so I use a scant tablespoon)
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/4 butter or butter substitute at room temperature, divided into 3 parts
  1. On a baking sheet lay out the 4 english muffins, opened up, so there are eight faces showing. Lightly butter the open faces. Place one piece of canadian bacon on each english muffin. Place english muffins in cold toaster oven or regular oven.
  2. In a large skillet, add about 2 inches of water. Add vinegar and salt and bring to a simmer. In double boiler or small saucepan with a bowl over it, bring water to a simmer in lower chamber. In top chamber or bowl, away from heat, add egg yolks, water, lemon juice, and one part of the butter.
  3. Take a deep breathe and get ready for some action!
  4. Place bowl over double boiler and continually whisk until butter has melted and sauce begins to thicken. Remove from heat and add another part butter and whisk to cool down.
  5. Add eggs, one at a time, to simmering large skillet. I first crack the eggs into a ramekin or small bowl and then slide the egg into the simmering water. I can usually fit 6 eggs around the edges of the skillet, and 2 in the middle. Make sure water continues to simmer - you might have to increase the heat, slightly.
  6. Turn on toaster oven to toast, or oven to broil. Lightly toast the english muffins with the ham. Make sure to set a timer and check frequently!
  7. While eggs are poaching, and english muffins are toasting, put the hollandaise back on the double boiler. Whisk until it starts to thicken again, then add last portion of butter and whisk until thick. If mixture starts to curdle or gets too thick, add a tablespoon of hot water and whisk until smooth.
  8. During this time, I sometimes have to remove the hollandaise several times from the heat, so it doesn't get too thick and curdle, while I check on the other ingredients. I also turn the eggs over if the water seems too shallow and doesn't seem to be cooking the top. If all the eggs don't fit in water at once, you can poach a few at a time, and take them out early and put on a plate. Once all eggs are partially cooked, they can be returnd to the water all at once, to warm up and finish cooking. Ideally, you want the eggs to have the whites cooked, and the yolks to still be runny.
  9. For assembly, place 2 english muffin halfs on a plate, with the canadian bacon on top, then place an egg on each piece of ham, and spoon hollandaise over top. Simple, right? ;)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Dr. Spamghetti

When I'm not in the mood for cooking, my husband gets a chance to make his famous Dr. Spamghetti! I gotta say, he's been tweaking this recipe for several years, and it really is some of the best spaghetti I have ever had. I just have to remember to keep Spam, Dr. Pepper, spaghetti, and some canned tomatoes in my pantry at all times. Good Stuff!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Pina Colada & Orange Mango Ginger Sorbets

Taking pictures of food in the evening always produces photos that are hard to manage and don't look so great. We just got a new camera, so that has been a big learning curve for me, too. Anyways, sorry for the flashy picture!

Besides that though, I made 2 fabulous sorbets with a friend at a Memorial Day gathering, and everyone loved them! To come clean here, both recipes called for making a simple syrup, and I ended up just throwing the water and sugar in the blender to dissolve, because frankly, I was feeling lazy and wanted to get these recipes in the ice cream makers ASAP. The recipes worked fine this way, although I am curious to see how they turn if I take the time to make a simple syrup. I am posting below how to make it the original way by heating the sugar and water, but if you want to throw everything in the blender, it works!

Another thing is that I thought these turned out VERY sweet, so I might try decreasing the sugar and see if that turns out with a good consistency. I don't think anyone else thought they were too sweet, that was just my personal preference.

When you make these, put them in the freezer to harden up a bit. They did not get firm enough just in the ice cream maker.

Pina Colada Sorbet

-adapted from allrecipes


  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 (20 ounce) can canned crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 (13.5 ounce) can coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  1. Make a syrup by bringing the sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat, stir and boil until the liquid becomes clear, about 1 minute. Set aside to cool.
  2. In blender, blend the remaining ingredients until frothy.
  3. Refrigerate all ingredients until chilled - about 3hrs. (or if you are like me, skip this)
  4. Freeze in the freezer canister of an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions. When sorbet is mostly firm, put in freezer to finish hardening.
Note: If you're wanting to skip step 1, you can throw the water and sugar in blender and blend until sugar is dissolved.

Orange, Mango and Ginger Sorbet
-adapted from allrecipes

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 (2 inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced, or 2Tbs crystallized ginger
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 1 cup mango juice
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  1. Combine the water, sugar, ginger, salt, and lime zest in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes. Allow mixture to cool; strain. Stir in the orange juice, mango juice, and lemon juice. Cover and chill 3 hours. (see note)
  2. Fill an ice cream maker with the mixture, and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Alternate Blender Directions:
  1. Blend water, sugar, (omit ginger) salt and lime zest in the blender.
  2. Pour sugar mixture and remaining ingredients into ice cream maker and add a couple tablespoons of crystallized ginger.
  3. Freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. When firm, place in freezer to reach desired thickness.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Snickerdoodle French Toast

Wow, this was GOOD! Essentially, this is a regular recipe for french toast, but then you sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on it before cooking. I'll definitely be making this again! Who needs regular french toast when you can have something this fantastic?

By the way, I got this recipe from Baking Bites, and everything I have made from her blog is over-the-top AMAZING. Especially her Pecan Pie Cheesecake...this recipe make me speechless and all drooley.

Snickerdoodle French Toast

-from Baking Bites


  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4-6 slices bread
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  1. In shallow dish for dipping bread, whisk together milk, eggs, salt and vanilla.
  2. In small bowl, mix together sugar and cinnamon.
  3. Heat skillet to medium heat, and butter or spary with non-stick spray.
  4. Poke holes in bread with a fork, for maximum egg absorption, and dip both sides of bread into egg mixture.
  5. While bread is in egg mixture, after both sides are moist, sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixture, and then put into skillet, cinnamon side down. Sprinkle other side with cinnamon-sugar mixture.
  6. When bottom is browned, flip and cook until other side is brown and bread is cooked through. Serve immediately or keep warm in oven.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Yogurt Herb Bread

I took this bread to our homeschool/unschool group, and everyone LOVED it! This is a savory quick bread recipe that I got from Coconut & Lime, and I'm adding this to my "Keepers" recipe folder. I made a few changes to make it whole-grain and utilize all dried herbs, since that is what I had on hand. I also used goat yogurt, but next time I will try soymilk with a little lemon juice to make it dairy-free.

Yogurt Herb Bread
-adapted from Coconut & Lime


  • 2 cups whole spelt flour (can substitute wheat flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup plain nonfat yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled slightly (I used Earth Balance)
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried tarragon
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour one loaf pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, salt, baking soda and baking powder.
  3. In a medium bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the melted butter, yogurt, eggs, dill, tarragon, thyme, rosemary and oregano.
  4. Pour into flour mixture and mix until well combined and it forms a fairly thick dough, about 2 minutes.
  5. Pour into prepare pan and bake about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean and dry. Allow to cool in pan about 5 minutes before removing from pan. Slice and serve.

Peppermint Patty Ice Cream

Coconut & Lime has a recipe for Peppermint Stick Ice Cream that I thought looked really good. Again, since Zoe is sensitive to dairy, I had to get creative in how I was going to make this dairy- free.

Sidenote: I thought that Zoe was handling goat products well, but she has been waking up with itchy, swollen eyes, and then about 15 minutes after eating some goat yogurt at breakfast, she broke out in hives. So, no more adventures in goat products for us. Although being able to use goat products adds simplicity to modifying recipes, goat milk, yogurt, and cheeses taste very...goaty.

So, a long time ago, I found a recipe that said for a dairy-free cream to add to things like chowders and pasta sauces, blend equal parts silken tofu and soymilk. This has worked great for putting in heated sauces and soups, but when I tried to freeze and defrost a chicken and wild rice soup, it separated and was clumpy. Yuck. I thought I would venture out and try this in an ice cream recipe, and it turned out fantastic! The mixture was thick and creamy, just like real ice cream! I thought the texture actually tasted better than other non-dairy ice creams that we have bought at health food stores. I'm so excited to be able to use this with many other ice cream recipes this summer!

Another modification that I made to the recipe was to use peppermint patties instead of crushed peppermint sticks, since we had plenty left over from our Burger Bite Cookies that we made last weekend. Peppermint patties are one of those things that get really hard and chewy when frozen. If I make this recipe again, I will either cut the peppermint patties smaller, or try it out with crushed peppermint candies. I think I will also reduce the amount of peppermint extract used. It might have been using the soy products versus whole milk and cream that did it, but it was a VERY pepperminty ice cream. Overall though, we loved this recipe and thought it turned out awesome!!

Peppermint Patty Ice Cream
-adapted from Coconut & Lime


  • 1 block silken soft tofu (10 - 12oz)
  • unsweetened soymilk
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract (can decrease amount)
  • 5 peppermint patties, chopped
  1. In a blender, place block of tofu. Pour in soymilk until the measure on the side of the blender reaches 3 cups.
  2. Add sugar, vanilla and peppermint extract. Blend until smooth.
  3. Add ingredients to ice cream machine, per machine instructions, and run for about 25-30 minutes, until firm. Add peppermint patties during last 5 minutes of mixing. Eat or place in freezer 2 hours to "ripen".

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Wasabi Deviled Eggs

I have been reading the blog Coconut & Lime for several months, and have bookmarked many of her recipes, but never tried any. Well, Coconut & Lime is celebrating it's 4 year blogiversary and is having a little contest, so I am taking that as motivation to finally try some of her recipes! Yesterday I went browsing through C & L's recipes with Zoe, and she picked out this deviled egg recipe for us to try. We love deviled eggs and have tried variations like adding curry powder, with great results. For this recipe, I substituted goat yogurt for the sour cream, since Zoe is sensitive to dairy. Overall, I really liked these wasabi eggs, and the rest of my family did, too! I think this recipe is great to make if you are serving a variety of deviled eggs, but it doesn't take the place of the classic mayo, mustard and paprika recipe.

Wasabi Deviled Eggs

-from Coconut & Lime


  • 6 hard boiled eggs, sliced lengthwise, yolks removed
  • 1/4 cup sour cream (reduced fat okay)
  • 1 teaspoon wasabi paste
  • 1 teaspoon minced green onion
  • 1/8 teaspoon mustard powder
  • salt
  • pepper
  • toasted sesame seeds
  1. In small bowl, mix together sour cream, mustard powder, wasabi, salt, pepper and egg yolk to form a paste. Pipe or spoon into the egg whites. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Sesame Chicken

I love stir-fry, but my family isn't too keen on tons of veggies. They love going to the Chinese buffet and getting meat that has been battered, fried and covered in sweet sauce. So, I have been on the lookout for healthier recipes that mimic these battered and fried dishes. I found this recipe on allrecipes, and we all really liked it! Per the reviews on the site, I made more sauce than it called for (recipe below reflects this), and if I were to make this again I might try to sneak in more onions and peppers. Also, since the recipe calls for so much honey, I wondered if I could substitute brown rice syrup or another natural sugar substitute and get the same effect. This recipe was deceivingly spicy, so if you like stuff mild cut back or omit the red pepper flakes. I loved the spice, though!

Sesame Chicken
-adapted from allrecipes


  • 1 cup whole spelt flour (can sub other flour)
  • 1/2 cup toasted sesame seeds, divided
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 5 (6 ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into chunks
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
  • 1/2 cup honey
  1. In a large resealable plastic bag or covered container, combine flour, 1/4 cup sesame seeds, black pepper, five-spice powder, and red pepper flakes. Place a few pieces of chicken at a time into the bag, and shake to coat. Remove to a platter.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Place chicken into skillet, and brown on both sides, about 5 minutes. Remove chicken, and set aside. Stir onion wedges and bell pepper slices into skillet; cook until slightly browned, about 2 minutes.
  3. Return chicken to skillet. Mix in teriyaki sauce, 1/4 cup sesame seeds, and honey; stir until sauce is thick and heated through. Serve over rice.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Burger Bites Cookies

I have had the Cookies For Kids Cookbook from Better Homes and Gardens since I was a child. My favorite recipe was the Burger Bites, and when Zoe looked through this cookbook, that was the first one to catch her eye. This recipe is fun to do, very easy to reduce or multiply as needed, and tastes awesome! We decided that we would make these for a Karaoke Extravaganza at a good friend's house. The cookies were gone within an hour, and Zoe rocked singing Code Monkey!

Burger Bites
-from Cookies for Kids by Better Homes and Gardens


  • few drops water
  • 1 drop green food coloring
  • 1/4 cup flaked coconut
  • 48 vanilla wafers
  • 24 chocolate covered peppermint patties
  • water
  • sesame seeds or poppy seeds
  1. Preheat oven to 350degrees. In ziploc baggie or lidded container, combine the few drops of water, food coloring, and coconut. Shake until coconut is all about the same shade of green.
  2. Place half of vanilla wafers, flat side up, on ungreased cookie sheet. Top each with a peppermint patty. Place in the oven for about 1 minute or just until chocolate begins to soften.
  3. Sprinkle each with a little coconut and top with another vanilla wafer. Press gently.
  4. With clean paintbrush or finger, brush the top of each vanilla wafer with water and sprinkle sesame seeds.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Puffed Pancakes with Apples

I have made puffed pancakes before, but stumbled upon the idea from Make and Takes to do them in muffin tins! She recommends mixing ingredients in a blender, but I thought I would use my Kitchenaid with the whisk attachment. It go the batter fairly smooth, but I will probably use the blender next time, for ultimate smoothness. You can fill top these pancakes with just about anything, so I filled these with a warm apple filling, and it really didn't need any syrup.

Puffed Pancakes (makes 12)
-from Make and Takes


  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 Tbs melted butter
  • dash salt
  1. Blend all ingredients in blender
  2. Pour in muffin tins
  3. Bake in 400degree oven for 15 minutes
  4. Top as desired
Apple Topping

  • 2-3 granny smith apples
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • cinnamon
  • brown sugar
  • water
  1. Peel and chop apples
  2. Melt butter in skillet on med-high
  3. Put apples and cinnamon in pan and saute for a few minutes
  4. Add some brown sugar, and if you like a little water if needed to make syrupy
  5. Serve warm with puffed pancakes!
Enjoy this Wagon Full of Pancakes!

Chicken Tandoori and Palak Paneer

I love Indian food, but found out that many recipes use dairy, which Zoe is allergic to. So, I have been experimenting with goat yogurt and tofu with fantastic results! The chicken tandoori recipe says to skin the chicken, and I found that to be difficult and slippery, so I pulled the skin up and just cut it off, rather than trying to tear it off all the way. That seemed to work well!

For the palak paneer, I was looking for a recipe to use some spinach that I had, but noticed that the Americanized recipes used ricotta, and the more authentic recipes used paneer, which I am guessing is a mild Indian cheese. I had some soft tofu on hand, so I crumbled that up. I don't think I used enough, though, because the flavor was strong.

We all liked the chicken, but Ben and Zoe wouldn't touch the palak paneer. I like it with some rice to cut the flavor a little. One more thing, I made a really good simple sauce for the chicken and the rice by mixing some goat yogurt with a little bit of curry powder and salt. We all like that!

Chicken Tandoori

- adapted from Recipes Live


  • 1 tsp mustard pwd
  • 2" ginger root, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp grnd coriander
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2/3 cup plain yogurt (I used goat yogurt)
  • salt to taste

  1. In a bowl, mix mustard, ginger, cumin, coriander, turmeric, lemon juice and cayenne.
  2. Add tomato paste and oil, a little at a time, mixing well to form a smooth sauce. Add remaining oil and stir in yogurt and salt. Prick drumsticks several times and place in a shallow glass dish. Pour marinade over drumsticks and turn drumsticks in mixture. Cover and marinate in refrigerator.
  3. Preheat broiler. Arrange drumsticks in a broiler pan and pour marinade over chicken and cook 30-35 minutes or until cooked through, turning and basting frequently to ensure even browning and cooking.

Palak Paneer
-adapted from allrecipes

  • 1/3 cup olive oil or butter substitute (I used a combo of Earth Balance and EVOO)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste (I used remainder of can from chicken tandoori)
  • 1 (3 inch) piece ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup water, or as needed
  • 1 (10 ounce) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 pound tofu, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (I believe you can sub ricotta or paneer for this)
  1. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in garlic and cumin seed; cook until the garlic softens, about 3 minutes. Add tomato paste, ginger, 1 teaspoon garam masala, salt, onion, and water. Increase heat to medium, and stir until the tomato paste dissolves. Simmer slowly for 1 hour, adding water as needed to maintain a sauce-like consistency.
  2. Stir in spinach and cook until hot, about 5 minutes. Add paneer, and allow to cook an additional 5 minutes, or until hot.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Homemade Beanie Weanies

This was a fun meal to do, making it from scratch and using better ingredients than what comes out of the can. I got the idea from Homesick Texan, and I modified her recipe by using my crockpot instead of baking it. I have the type of crockpot that the inside ceramic can be removed and put in the oven if necessary. I believe that I used a little too much water, but since I was gone for the day, I didn't want to come home to dried out beans. We brought this to a friends house, and everyone ate most of it up, including my husband, who is not a big fan of beans. I will put this recipe in my folder of winning recipes - it was a great crockpot meal!

Beanie Weenies from Scratch
-adapted from Homesick Texan


  • 1 pound of pinto beans
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 pound of salt pork, diced
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 3 T chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup of black coffee
  • Pinch of baking soda
  • 8 hot dogs (I like Schweigert Old-Fashioned Coarse Ground Weiners), sliced into ½ inch thick slices
  1. Soak the beans in a pot filled with 8 cups of water overnight, or do a quick soak by boiling the beans in 8 cups of water for 2 minutes, then covering the pot with a lid for one hour.
  2. Heat olive oil in skillet on medium heat and saute onions until translucent. Add garlic and cook for a couple minutes.
  3. Add onion garlic mixture to crockpot and stir in molasses, chile powder, cayenne, mustard powder and brown sugar. Add the soaked beans and stir in coffee, baking soda and diced salt pork. Add enough water to cover beans with 2 inches of water.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or high for 3-4 hours. Test bean done-ness and cook longer if necessary.
  5. Preheat oven to 400. Uncover pot, remove ceramic, and add hot dogs and put in oven uncovered for 30 minutes - 1 hr until sauce has thickened (if the inside of your crockpot cannot be removed, then try just uncovering the lid, and cook uncovered on high for 1+hrs.)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Middle Eastern Rice & Beans

I went to the health food store today with my shopping list and meal plan, and got an expected call to go pick up one of Zoe's friends, so had to stuff my cart as quickly as possible, checkout and leave. When I got home, I realized that I ended up with many things that were not on my list, and not enough ingredients to cook anything planned for my meal plan! I was swayed by great sales, and came home with 12 cans of beans!
So, I found this recipe on allrecipes decided to try it out. The recipe calls for fresh cilantro and parsley, which I did not have, so I threw in a little dried parsley. I also omitted the ground turkey, and thought it worked well without it, although if I make this recipe again I will include it. This meal was very spicy, but Zoe said she loved it, and Ben went back for seconds. Well, that's not saying much since I didn't put much on Ben's plate to begin with, thinking that he wouldn't like it. I also served green beans that I sauted an onion before throwing in the frozen green beans, and Zoe ate a ton of it, and she never eats alot of veggies! I'll remember that!

Middle Eastern Rice with Black Beans and Chickpeas
-adapted from allrecipes


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup uncooked basmati rice
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 bunch chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
  • 1 bunch chopped fresh parsley (optional)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts (optional)
  • salt to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in garlic, and cook 1 minute. Stir in rice, cumin, coriander, turmeric, and cayenne pepper. Cook and stir 5 minutes, then pour in chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 20 minutes.
  2. Place the turkey in a skillet over medium heat, and cook until evenly brown.
  3. Gently mix cooked turkey, garbanzo beans, black beans, cilantro, parsley, and pine nuts into the cooked rice. Season with salt and pepper.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Sausage and Peppers

This picture was taken with my phone, so it's not the best quality. The meal was great, though!

Sausage and Peppers


  • 16 oz short pasta (I used Campanelle)
  • 1 package Hot Italian Sausage Links
  • 3 assorted bell peppers (red, green, yellow), seeded and sliced
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 3 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • parmesan
  1. Cook pasta according to directions. Set aside.
  2. While the pasta is getting started, remove the casings from the sausage. Brown sausages in a large skillet over medium-high heat with a drizzle of the olive oil. They do not have to be fully cooked. Remove sausages to a platter. Add the bell peppers, garlic, onion, oregano and basil to the skillet, and drizzle with the remaining olive oil. Saute over medium heat until peppers are tender. Slice sausage and add to the pepper mixture. Saute until sausage is fully cooked.
  3. Toss the pepper mixture with the drained pasta until well blended, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add more olive oil if needed, and serve with parmesan.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Thai Chicken with Basil

I made this a couple nights ago, and it was excellent! I substituted dried basil for the fresh basil that the recipe called for. I also used the leftover coconut milk, watered down to make the rice.

Thai Chicken with Basil
- adapted from allrecipes


  • 2 cups uncooked jasmine or basmati rice
  • leftover coconut milk and water to make 4 cups
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil, or 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger root, minced or grated with microplane
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 pounds boneless chicken thighs or breasts - cut into bite-size pieces
  • 3 shiitake mushrooms, sliced (I used button mushrooms)
  • 5 green onions, chopped
  1. Empty can on coconut milk in glass container and heat slightly in microwave or on stovetop to melt the top layer of coconut oil. Set aside 3/4 cup.
  2. Take remaining coconut milk and enough water to equal the correct amount of liquid for the rice. Cook rice according to directions. The longer the rice grain, the more water is needed. I use basmati rice, which is one of the longest rices and calls for 2 cups of water per 1 cup of rice.
  3. In a bowl, mix the coconut milk, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, fish sauce, red pepper flakes and dried basil (if using fresh basil, do not add now, add with green onions).
  4. In a skillet or wok, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Stir in the onion, ginger, and garlic, and cook until lightly browned. Mix in chicken, and cook about 3 minutes, until browned. Stir in the coconut milk sauce. Continue cooking until sauce is reduced be about 1/3. Mix in mushrooms, green onions (and fresh basil if using), and cook until heated through. Serve over the cooked rice.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Cooking For Families

This Monday, I invited families from our homeschooling group to come over and cook for a couple families that have been going through some difficult times. We made 6 trays of lasagna, a big pot of soup, some olive cheese bread, garlic bread, and veggies and dip. It was so much fun! I don't have any pictures, but I wanted to share these great recipes that we made.

Pioneer Woman's Lasagna - this recipe called for ground beef and hot sausage, but I used all ground turkey and seasoned it like sausage, from this recipe: Mom's Turkey Sausage Patties
I also used shredded mozzarella instead of deli sliced cheese, and used some "no-cook" lasagna noodles. The baking time was almost doubled because of the noodles, but it turned out fantastic! It turned out so much better than I imagined it would!

White Chicken Cheese Lasagna - We made 3 trays of this lasagna, and omitted chicken from one to make it vegetarian, although it still had chicken broth in it. I also substituted cottage cheese for the ricotta, since that is what they had at Sam's. We ate the version without the chicken and it was just as good or better than the Pioneer Woman's Lasagna!

Pioneer Woman's Olive Cheese Bread - This recipe is sooooooooo good! It's by no means healthy, but it is mouth-watering good. It's important to bake this long enough so it all melts and melds together.

Pasta E Fagioli - This is a great Italian soup! I substituted the pancetta with some bacon, and used small shell pasta instead of ditalini, since that's what was at the Super Target. Serve this with parmesan and crusty bread.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Birthday Cakes Remembered

I found all of Zoe's birthday cakes from years past! This is probably more exciting for me, so humor me and have fun looking through the pictures!

1st Birthday - Letter Building Block
This was a whole grain carrot cake with all natural sweeteners. It tasted very good and Zoe kept wanting to smash it with her whole arm, but kept second guessing herself like she wasn't' sure if it was the right thing to do.

2nd Birthday - Blue's Clues Cake
I had someone else decorate Zoe's cake this year, and I was so disappointed that I didn't do it. It was this cake that made me decide to always have fun doing Zoe's cake myself. This was a whole grain chocolate cake that was very moist and dense and yummy.

3rd Birthday - Hi-Ho Cherry-o Cake
This was a lot of fun to make. It was a chocolate cherry cake made with a can of cherry pie filling, and it was extremely good. I decorated it the night before and put the red jellybeans on it and took pictures. When I took it out of the fridge the next morning, the red jellybeans bled all over the cake. I'm glad I got the shot the night before.

4th Birthday - Princess Cake
This cake was awful. Zoe said she wanted a princess cake, so I decided to try one of those Barbie cakes (generic Barbie used). She also said that it needed to have fruit on it to make it healthy. Well, the frosting was slightly to runny and I couldn't keep Barbie's top on, and the fruit kept sliding down the side. I quickly squirted and placed everything on before taking this shot. This cake was a chocolate zucchini cake, and I thought I would add a little extra zucchini to make it healthier, and it tasted really bad, like a mouthful of veggies with icing on it.

5th Birthday - Disney Princess Cake
This year Zoe said she wanted Belle and Ariel on a cake, so I took on the grand task of trying to recreate Disney. I think the design turned out fairly well, although they had really creepy eyes. At least you could tell who they were, and I consider that a success. This was a chocolate mint cake, that tasted like a peppermint patty. It had a layer of chocolate cake, a layer of white "peppermint patty" filling, and a layer of chocolate ganache on top. It had a very intense flavor, but everyone who loved mint chocolate loved the cake.

6th Birthday - Webkinz Cake
This was the first year that I tried to use fondant, and thought it turned out really well. The fondant didn't have much flavor, but the cake looked great, kind of reminiscent of a 50's diner. You know, I can't remember what flavor cake this was. I believe it was some variety of chocolate.

7th Birthday - Bugs Cake
When Zoe requested this cake, she said she wanted bugs on it, but not gross bugs, only cute bugs. This was a fantastic lemon cake, and the fondant looked great, and tasted great, too!

7th Birthday

Zoe turned 7 today, and I made her a lemon cake. I made 2 layers in a 9-inch round cake pan, and 2 layers in an 8x8 pyrex. I had Ben trim the square layers to make them more square and to fit on top of the round layers. I kneaded gel coloring into the fondant after I made it, and the cake was surprisingly bright and reminiscent of playdoh. It turned out fantastic! It both looked and tasted great! I doubled the cake recipe to fit 4 pans, but did not double the lemon filling or frosting.

Lemon Cake with Lemon Filling and Lemon Butter Frosting
- from allrecipes


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 4 egg yolks, beaten
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 8 inch round pans. Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk, mixing just until incorporated.
  3. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Then invert onto wire racks to cool completely.
  4. To make filling: In medium saucepan, mix together 1 tablespoon lemon zest, 1/2 cup lemon juice and 1 tablespoon cornstarch until smooth. Mix in 6 tablespoons butter and 3/4 cup sugar, and bring mixture to boil over medium heat. Boil for one minute, stirring constantly. In small bowl, with a wire whisk, beat egg yolks until smooth. Whisk in a small amount of the hot lemon mixture. Pour the egg mixture into the sauce pan, beating the hot lemon mixture rapidly. Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring constantly, 5 minutes, or until thick (not to boil).
  5. Pour mixture into medium bowl. Press plastic wrap onto surface to keep skin from forming as it cools. Cool to room temperature. Refrigerate 3 hours.
  6. To make frosting: In large bowl, beat confectioners' sugar, 1/2 cup butter, 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 1 teaspoon lemon zest until smooth. Beat in milk, and increase speed and continue to beat until light and fluffy.
  7. To assemble: With long serrated knife, split each cake layer in half horizontally, making 4 layers. Place 1 layer, cut side up, on a serving plate. Spread with half of the lemon filling. Top with another layer, and spread with 1/2 cup frosting. Add third layer, and spread with remaining half of the lemon filling. Press on final cake layer, and frost top and sides of cake with remaining frosting. Refrigerate cake until serving time.

Rolled Buttercream Fondant
- from allrecipes

  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
  • 2 pounds confectioners' sugar
  1. In a large bowl, stir together the shortening and corn syrup. Mix in the salt and vanilla flavoring, then gradually mix in the confectioners' sugar until it is a stiff dough. If you are using a stand mixer, use the dough hook attachment. Otherwise, knead by hand. If the dough is sticky, knead in more confectioners' sugar until it is smooth. Store in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
  2. To use, roll out on a clean surface that has been dusted with confectioners' sugar until it is 1/8 inch thick or thinner if you can. Drape over frosted and chilled cakes and smooth the sides down, or cut into strips to make bows and other decorations.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Pear Pizza

We always have warm breakfasts on the weekends, and I ran out of eggs on Saturday so I had to get creative on Sunday. I used canned pears for this, but just about any fruit can be used, as long as it's soft or cooked. I used my default pizza dough recipe since I know it by heart, and just added a little extra sugar and substituted butter for the olive oil. I also added a little vanilla to the dough. I didn't pre-bake my crust, and wished that I had because the moist pears caused the top of the crust to stay dough-ey. I modified the recipe below to bake the crust first.

Pear Breakfast Pizza


  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast, or 1 scant Tbs.
  • 1 Tbs white sugar
  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cans pear halves, sliced (other soft fruit can be used)
  • 2 Tbs apple, peach, apricot or other light jelly
  • cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in flour, salt and oil. Beat until smooth. Let rest for 5 minutes.
  3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat or roll into a round. Transfer crust to a lightly greased pizza pan. Pre-bake pizza crust for 8 minutes. Remove from oven.
  4. Lay pear slices all over crust. Heat jelly until soft and spreadable, either in the microwave or on stove top. Brush jelly over pizza. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
  5. Bake another 5-8 minutes until fruit is heated through and crust is lightly browned.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Chinese Food

A couple of weeks ago I made sweet and sour pork like you get in Chinese restaurants with the breading and the frying and the red sauce (my sauce was more translucent since I didn't want to add food coloring), and I thought there had to be a healthier version that my family would like just as much. I also have been looking for a hot and sour soup recipe that used convenient ingredients to get, that tastes similar to a restaurant's version, since Zoe LOVES hot and sour soup and will eat it all up no matter how spicy it is. I found these two recipes on allrecipes and modified them slightly and it turned out great! For the soup, I only had egg whites on hand, leftover from a previous recipe, so I used that in the soup. Verdict: I thought the sweet and sour chicken was fantastic ad the soup was pretty good, although not up to par with a restaurant's version. Ben didn't much care for the soup, but he doesn't care for it in the restaurant either. I'm pretty sure he liked the sweet and sour chicken since he ate all that was on his plate. Zoe liked both, once we added more vinegar and soy sauce to her soup. She ate all the meat, rice and pineapple, but left the chunks of green pepper, which really is no surprise. :)

Sweet and Sour Chicken
-adapted from allrecipes


  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast meat - cubed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 sliced or chunked bell pepper (green, red, yellow, or a combination)
  • 1 cup carrot strips
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 (8 ounce) can pineapple chunks, juice reserved
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 Tbs ketchup (can be omitted, but gives it that red color)
  1. Brown chicken in oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add green bell pepper, carrot and garlic and stir fry for 1 to 2 minutes.
  2. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and soy sauce and mix together; add vinegar, sugar and ginger and ketchup; pour mixture into the skillet, along with the pineapple and liquid. Stir together and bring to a full boil. Serve with rice.

Hot and Sour Chicken Soup
-from allrecipes


  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup sliced bamboo shoots, drained
  • 3 slices fresh ginger root
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into thin , bite-sized strips
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 egg, beaten
  1. In a saucepan, combine the chicken broth, water, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and hot pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer while you assemble the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Place the chicken slices into a bowl and toss with the sesame oil to coat. In a separate bowl, stir together the cornstarch and vinegar, and set aside.
  3. Increase the heat under the broth to medium-high, and return to a rolling boil. Add the chicken slices. Return to a boil, and then drizzle in the egg while stirring slowly to create long strands of egg. Stir in the vinegar and cornstarch. Simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through and the broth has thickened slightly, about 3 minutes. Serve garnished with green onions. Season to taste with soy sauce and red wine vinegar.

Saturday, March 15, 2008


I love hummus! I have messed with my recipe many times, and think I have come up with my favorite way of putting it together. It's so easy that Zoe can do the whole thing! I found that just about any bean will do in the recipe, so we just throw in whatever is in our pantry (black beans, garbanzos, black-eyed peas, navy beans, etc.). You can also substitute peanut butter for the tahini (sesame seed butter), but I prefer the taste of the tahini. We eat our hummus with corn chips, pita chips, carrots, celery, or spread on tortillas or sandwiches instead of mayonnaise.



  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 cans garbanzo beans
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • olive oil (extra virgin)
  1. Take the two cloves of garlic and smash them with the can to peel them. Cut off the little tough ends and throw them into the food processor. Turn on food processor until garlic is all chopped.
  2. Open the cans of beans, and drain, reserving the liquid. Put beans, tahini, juice from half of the lemon, and cumin into the food processor.
  3. Turn on food processor. While processor is running, stream about 1/4 cup olive oil into the opening at top, until the dip is starting to come together.
  4. Open processor and taste the dip. Add salt or the other half of the lemon if needed. If hummus is still too thick, add some of the reserve liquid from the cans of beans or more olive oil while the processor is running until you get your desired consistency.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

My family loves pancakes and waffles, but I get bored with the same old recipe and love to mix it up a little every once in a while. I thought these turned out fantastic, and my family ate everything on their plates!

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes


  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 Tbs honey
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 Tbs applesauce
  • 1 peeled chopped apple
  1. In mixing bowl, stir together flours, baking powder and salt.
  2. In another mixing bowl, combine egg, honey, milk and applesauce
  3. Add liquid to the flour mixture. Stir just until moistened.
  4. Stir in apples.
  5. Pour about 1/2 cup batter on skillet heated to medium heat. Flip pancakes when they start to bubble on top. Cook for 1-2 minutes on other side, until lightly browned.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

What an ugly meal that tasted great! I was able to cook this meal in the crockpot, and it was very simple to make. The original recipe called for condensed tomato soup, but I used a combination of canned diced tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce and crushed tomatoes that I had from leftover cans that I combined. I also used leftover rice, which saved time.

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
- adapted from Allrecipes


  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup uncooked white rice
  • Napa Cabbage
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 large can tomato sauce or other canned tomatoes
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add rice and stir. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the ground turkey, 1 cup cooked rice, onion, egg, salt and pepper, along with 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce. Mix thoroughly.
  3. Divide the beef mixture evenly among the cabbage leaves. Roll and place seam side down in crockpot. I had enough to make 2 layers in my slow-cooker.
  4. Pour remaining tomato sauce over cabbage rolls. Cover and cook on low heat for 5+ hours.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Cheese Enchiladas

Last night I made a cheese enchilada recipe from Simply Recipes, one of the more popular food blogs. I was really excited to use this recipe, and had it bookmarked for a long time, but since Zoe has been sensitive to dairy products the recipe has been dormant in my files. I have a good friend that picked me up some raw cheese the past couple of weeks, and I think Zoe can tolerate this new food! So last night I was very excited to make Zoe her favorite Mexican restaurant meal that she hasn't had in a long time...but it didn't turn out so good. Personally, I thought the sauce was awful and bland, and Ben could only eat a few bites. There was something that I learned about authentic enchiladas, though - you have to soften the corn tortillas in oil to get the right texture. When I have made enchiladas in the past, they always turned out too soggy if I used flour tortillas, and too cardboard-ey if I used corn tortillas. The texture of these enchiladas was restaurant perfect! I decided not to post the whole recipe since we didn't like it, but I am pasting in the segment on softening the tortillas:

"In a large fry pan at high heat add 3 Tbsp of grapeseed oil. Add a tortilla to the pan. Cook for 2-3 seconds, lift up the tortilla with a spatula, add another tortilla underneath. Cook for 2-3 seconds, lift again, both tortillas, and add another tortilla underneath. Repeat the process with all the tortillas, adding a little more oil if needed. This way you can brown and soften the tortillas without using a lot of fat. You do this process to develop the flavor of the tortillas. As the tortillas brown a little, remove from the pan one by one to rest on a paper towel, which absorbs any excess fat." - from Simply Recipes

I didn't have grapeseed oil, so I used olive oil, and I put paper towels in-between every 2 tortillas when finished to remove excess oil.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Walnut Filled Braid

Look what Zoe and I made! Zoe wanted to cook something, so we browsed through my red and white checked Better Homes and Garden cookbook and came across this Walnut-Filled Braid. It turned out to be very impressive looking! Family verdict: Everyone says it's extremely delicious! I will need to make it again!

Walnut-Filled Braid
-from the Better Homes & Garden New Cook Book (11th Edition)


  • 3 1/4 to 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 package or 1 scant Tbs yeast
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk (oops, I forgot this, but it still turned out great!)
  • 1/3 cup apple, current or mixed fruit jelly
  • 1 1/2 cups ground walnuts (ground in food processor)
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 Tbs water
  1. In large mixing bowl, stir together 1 3/4 cup flour, and yeast. In medium saucepan heat and stir milk, sugar, butter and salt just until warm and butter almost melts. Add milk mixture to dry mixture along with the whole eggs and egg yolk. Beat with electric mixer on low to medium speed for 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl constantly. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Using wooden spoon stir in in as much of the remaining flour as you can.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic (3-5 minutes total). Shape dough into a ball. Place dough in lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease surface. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double in size (for about 1 hour, I put the bowl in the oven with only the oven light on)
  3. Meanwhile, for filling, in a small saucepan or microwave, heat jelly just until melted. Stir into walnuts; set aside. In a small mixing bowl beat together egg white and water.
  4. Punch dough down. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, lightly grease a baking sheet.
  5. Roll each portion of the dough into a 12x10-inch rectangle. Cut each rectangle into three 10x4-inch strips. Spread a scant 3 Tbs of the filling down the center of each strip. Brush egg white mixture on edges. Fold long sides of dough over filling.
  6. To shape, place the 3 filled ropes, seam sides down, 1-inch apart on half of baking sheet. Loosely braid the ropes of dough, working from the center to each end. Press the ends together and tuck under the loaf. Braid the three remaining ropes. Brush loaves with some of the egg white mixture. Cover and let rise till nearly double (about 30 minutes). Brush loaves again with egg white mixture.
  7. Bake in a 350degree oven for about 30 minutes or till bread sounds hollow when you tap the top with your fingers (if necessary, cover loosely with foil the last 10 minutes of baking to prevent over-browning). Immediately remove bread from baking sheet. Cool on wire racks. Makes 2 loaves.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Chicken Jalfrezi and Roasted Cauliflower

Tonight, I tried a friend's favorite Indian recipe, Chicken Jalfrezi, and to go with it I found a recipe for Indian influenced cauliflower.
Zoe - ate all the meat, but didn't touch the sauce, rice or the cauliflower. I don't think she liked the strong flavor.
Ben - ate everything on his plate, including the cauliflower, which he usually won't touch. He said he really liked the cauliflower, and the chicken was just ok.
Me - I really liked the chicken, but I think I made it a little too salty ( I decreased it in the recipe below), and I would like to try other recipes to see if I could find a more authentic one to use. I didn't really care for the cauliflower - it tasted like salty ketchup on cauliflower to me.

The recipe calls for ghee, and I didn't have any on hand, so I decided to use Smart Balance instead (our dairy free, non-hydrogenated spread). I will have to try making some ghee sometime. I served this meal with rice.

Chicken Jalfrezi
-adapted from Allrecipes


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut bite-size pieces
  • 3 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can peeled and diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)
  • 3 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger root
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves


  1. Heat the oil in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic, and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the chicken, and season with turmeric, chili powder and salt. Fry gently, scraping the bottom of the pan frequently and turning the chicken.
  2. Pour in the tomatoes with their juice, cover the pan, and simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes. Uncover, and simmer for another 10 minutes to let the excess liquid evaporate.
  3. Add the ghee, cumin, ground coriander, ginger and cilantro, and simmer for another 5 to 7 minutes. Serve the chicken pieces with sauce spooned over the top.
Roasted Cauliflower with Indian Barbecue Sauce
- adapted from epicurious

  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 1-pound head of cauliflower, cored, cut into 1-inch florets (about 4-5 cups), or one frozen bag of cauliflower
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 3/4 cups ketchup (I used half ketchup, half tomato sauce)
  • 1/8 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoons sugar


Preheat oven to 400°F. Toast cumin in small skillet over medium heat until darker in color and beginning to smoke, about 1 - 1/2 minutes. Set aside.

Toss cauliflower and 2 tablespoons oil in large bowl. Transfer to medium rimmed baking sheet. Roast until very tender, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add ginger and garlic; sauté until very fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add ketchup, soy sauce, sugar, and toasted cumin. Bring to boil, whisking to blend. Reduce heat to very low; simmer barbecue sauce 1 minute to blend flavors, whisking constantly.

Remove cauliflower from oven; transfer to large bowl. Toss with enough barbecue sauce to coat.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Pizza Night

I love pizza. I love it so much that I think I could eat it every day! Really. Anyways, I make pizza at least once a week, and I use the same recipe for the crust every time. Tonight I used some leftover pesto and stretched with 2 minced garlic cloves and extra olive oil, raw tilsit cheese(yum), and some canned organic diced tomatoes. The pizza turned out so spectacularly delicious!

Quick and Easy Pizza Crust
from Allrecipes


  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). In a medium bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in flour, salt and oil. Beat until smooth. Let rest for 5 minutes.
  3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat or roll into a round. Transfer crust to a lightly greased pizza pan or baker's peel dusted with cornmeal. Spread with desired toppings and bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Let baked pizza cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

A Start

I decided to start a food blog, but have been putting it off until I get my kitchen spotless or I try an amazing new recipe that I gotta share with everyone. But that could take me months or years and maybe never happen! The reason I am doing this, is simply because I really enjoy cooking, and love trying new recipes. I feed my family about three to six new recipes a week, and they are good sports and eat almost anything I put in from of them, although I know their limits. So I am starting this as a fun project to share the food that I feed my family, the good and the bad, and have fun along the way. So, here's a start. Enjoy!

Since I have to start somewhere, I am starting simple. Tonight I got home late and have been procrastinating going to the grocery store all week, so I had to think of something simple and quick. I made the decision to make breakfast for supper. We ended up having scrambled eggs with sausage and cheese, toast, and pineapple mango blueberry fruit smoothies. For fruit smoothies I always try to have multiple bags of frozen fruit on hand so I can pick and choose how I want my smoothie. For liquid in the smoothie, I usually like orange juice the best but tonight I used milk and grape juice and they turned pretty darn good. Overall the meal was simple and delicious.

Scrambled Eggs with Summer Sausage and Cheese
Serves 2 (Zoe had leftover Chipotle)

1 Tbs olive oil
1/4 onion,
2 - 1/4 in. slices summer sausage, cut into small cubes
3 eggs, lightly beaten
handful colby-jack shredded cheese

Heat skillet to medium with the 1 Tbs olive oil. Add onions and sausage and sauté for a few minutes, until onions are soft. Pour eggs into pan and scramble. When eggs are close to done, but still slightly runny, add cheese. Turn off heat and stir to finish cooking (if you have a gas range, don't turn off heat until eggs are done). I enjoy cheesy eggs more when the cheese is cut into small cubes instead of grated, so there are still little bits of cheese when done.

Food Tip: I freeze my bananas when they get brown with the peel still on, in a large Ziploc baggie. When I want to use a banana I take one out and put it in the microwave for about 15-20 seconds just to slightly soften it, cut off the end and squeeze the whole banana out. It's kinda gross looking, but so easy and simple. If I need the bananas for banana bread, then I microwave them longer until they are completely soft and not frozen at all.