November 12, 2012

Pork Egg Rolls

Egg Rolls

I’ve never made egg rolls before and after I found these on All Recipes, they sat on my menu for a few weeks, and I kept putting off making them because I knew they’d take a little extra prep and I dreaded frying in hot oil.  It’s a perfect meal to ask the kids or your significant other to help with though!  I asked my husband to take care of mixing the vegetables while I prepped the Sesame Noodles and browned the pork.  Then he assembled the rolls while I fried them and it all came together in the end.  I used a pan screen to keep the oil splatter down to a minimum but even without it, there was very little clean up.

The kids were ecstatic to have homemade egg rolls and they turned out better than I’d hoped.  I like showing them that you can make this kind of food at home and you don’t have to go out to get it!


  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 24 oz. peanut oil for frying
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 2 ounces shredded carrots
  • 1 lb. package of egg roll wrappers
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds(optional)


  1. Season pork with ginger and garlic powder and mix thoroughly. Heat mixture in a medium skillet, stirring, until pork is cooked through and no longer pink. Set aside.
  2. In another large skillet heat oil on medium high heat. While oil is heating, combine flour and water in a bowl until they form a paste. In a separate bowl combine the cabbage, carrots and reserved pork mixture. Mix all together.
  3. Lay out one egg roll wrapper with a corner pointed toward you. Place about a 1/4 cup of the cabbage, carrot and pork mixture on egg roll paper and fold corner up over the mixture. Fold left and right corners toward the center and continue to roll. Brush a bit of the flour paste on the final corner to help seal the egg roll.
  4. Place egg rolls into heated oil and fry, turning occasionally, until golden brown. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels or rack. Put on serving plate and top with sesame seeds if desired.

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November 11, 2012

Fresh Strawberry Watermelon And Red Grape Fruit Salad With Honey Lime Dressing

Fresh Strawberry Watermelon And Red Grape Fruit Salad With Fresh Mint Honey Dressing

I made this ridiculously-named salad several months ago and just never took the time to post it.  It’ll be nice to have on hand next for Valentines day or a warm spring day!  The description of the recipe on Group Recipes literally made me laugh out loud when it suggested that it be served at your next yacht party!  If you have a yacht then, by all means, this would be the salad to serve.  It only makes sense.


  • 2 pounds strawberries, hulled and sliced in half
  • 1 bag seedless red grapes
  • 1 small seedless watermelon, cut into bite sized pieces or use a melon baller

For Honey Lime Dressing

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • Fresh lime juice, enough to thin out honey to proper consistency to dress fruit
  • about 10 fresh mint leaves, finely julienned


  1. Combine all the chopped fruit in large bowl.
  2. Pour honey into medium mixing bowl. Add lime juice, whisking into honey, until the honey loosens up enough. Toss in the mint.
  3. Pour dressing over the fruit and lightly toss. Garnish with a few mint sprigs.

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Wet Burritos

Wet Burritos

Like many recipes lately, I saw these on Pinterest.  They’re originally posted at Blog Chef and are ridiculously easy to pull together, make for an easy next-day meal and best of all, the kids liked them.  Melty cheese, fresh ingredients on top and soft tortillas make for a great weekday meal!


  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • ½ cup onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 4.5 ounce can diced green chili peppers
  • 16 oz. can refried beans
  • 15 oz. can chili without beans
  • 10.75 oz. can condensed tomato soup
  • 10 oz. can enchilada sauce
  • 12 inch flour tortillas, warmed
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 2 cups shredded lettuce
  • 1 cup tomatoes, chopped
  • ½ cup green onions, chopped


  1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat cook ground beef while chopping up with a spatula or spoon. Cook while chopping until browned. Add onion and cook until translucent. Drain the grease and season with garlic, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir in green chilies and refried beans. Mix until well blended. Turn off heat and keep warm.
  2. In a medium saucepan combine chili, tomato soup, and enchilada sauce. Cook until heated through and bubbling. Keep warm.
  3. Place a warmed tortilla onto a platter, and spoon about a ½ cup of the ground beef mixture onto the center of the tortilla. Roll up the tortilla over the filling. Spoon a generous amount of the chili/enchilada sauce over the top of the burrito and sprinkle cheese over the top of the sauce. Microwave for 30 seconds or until the cheese has melted. Top with lettuce, tomato, and green onions.

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October 23, 2012

Crock Pot Pumpkin Coffeecake Oatmeal

Crock Pot Pumpkin Coffeecake Oatmeal

I know steel cut oats are the way to go, health wise, but I don’t buy them.  They’re more expensive for a smaller container and we love our oatmeal.  We eat too much of it to justify buying the steel cut.  Don’t hate. 

When I found this recipe on Healthy Slow Cooking I was bummed that it specifically called for steel cut, and a quick Google search confirmed that they are the ideal choice.  I knew I couldn’t leave this to cook in the crock pot all night but with my morning running schedule, it worked out perfectly to use regular oats (not the quick-cook).  Since I’m up a solid hour before my daughters, this gives me time to get everything in the crock pot and it has time to cook while they shower.  An hour and a half later, we have oatmeal!

I used one, plus one half serving-size amount of oatmeal from the side of the can.  I changed the amount of water because, I’m assuming, the elevation here in Texas always leaves my oatmeal runny so I decreased the liquid by quite a bit.


  • 1 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 2 1/4 cups water or milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  • brown sugar to taste
  • ground nutmeg to taste
  • chopped pecans or almonds (optional)


  1. Put oats, water (or milk), pumpkin, cinnamon and vanilla in the crockpot and cook on high for 1 1/2 - 2 hours.
  2. Stir in extra milk to make it the consistency that you like.
  3. Sprinkle brown sugar, nutmeg and nuts on top!

October 6, 2012

Southwestern Chicken Barley Chili

Southwest Chicken Barley Chili

A friend of mine is recovering from major surgery and I promised to bring a meal over to her the other night.  The universe, however, had different plans and I was stuck in appointments for the better portion of the afternoon and into the evening.  Competing with traffic is always an issue and I knew I wouldn’t get home in time to prepare the meal.  I called home and my nearly-fourteen year old daughter came to the rescue!  I gave her a few basic instruction to get her started on the recipe from Mel’s Kitchen CafĂ©, told her to read the instructions carefully and crossed my fingers. 

Huge success!  It came out as well as I’d hoped.  Flavorful, hearty and a LOT of leftovers.


  • 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, un-drained
  • 16 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup medium barley (not quick cooking)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • dash cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
  • 2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into bite-size pieces
  • 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels

Garnishes: shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, sliced green onions, tortilla chips


  1. In a large pot (about 6-quarts), combine the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, barley, water, chili powder, cumin, dried oregano and cayenne (if using). Stir well.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat and add the chicken. Stir to combine.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer the chili for 40 minutes, until the barley is tender and chewy and the chicken is no longer pink.
  4. Stir occasionally, while it simmers to prevent sticking and to make sure it stays at a steady simmer.
  5. After 40 minutes, add the beans and corn. Stir to combine and simmer for five more minutes. Serve the chili with optional garnishes, if desired.

August 27, 2012

BBQ Chicken Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing

BBQ Chicken Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing
There really isn’t much to be said about this recipe except YUM! It’s a quick pull-together meal that was ready in under 20 minutes.  Kevin, at Closet Cooking, always manages to amaze with his variety of recipes and this was no exception.  The dressing that’s suggested is creamy and satisfying and even the kids requested more of it drizzled over their greens.  I loved it because we’ve become a no-salad-dressing family, using lemon or lime juice instead, but with this list of ingredients I didn’t feel guilty about indulging!
  • 4 small chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 cups lettuce, sliced or torn
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 oz. real bacon bits
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, torn
  • 1/4 cup avocado dressing (below)
  1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and grill over medium-high heat until cooked, about 4-6 minutes
  2. Let the chicken cool, then slice.
  3. Assemble salad and enjoy!

Creamy Avocado Dressing


  • 1 medium avocado
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1 lime, juice
  • 1 green onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Puree everything in a blender until smooth. Store in fridge and finish within a few days.

July 28, 2012

Breakfast Quinoa with Strawberries and Bananas

Breakfast Quinoa

The Parsley Thief offered up this tasty twist on quinoa and I l.o.v.e.d it!  Not only does it offer a carb-loaded breakfast, perfect before a long run, but it’s a welcome change from the usual granola.  It’s chewy and tender with a hint of sweet from the honey, has a light crunch from the berries and the smooth texture from the bananas is such a tempting combination for an early morning feast of champions! 

Any kind of fruit would be tasty in this, depending on your mood (I’m a huge mood-eater!); blackberries, blueberries, apricots, apples etc.  Obviously you can substitute regular milk for any other variety that you prefer and if you want some extra protein, add some chopped almonds or pecans.


  • 1/2 cup quinoa (rinsed & drained)
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon honey (or to taste)
  • pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup mixed fresh berries
  • 1/2 banana, sliced


  1. Bring the milk and quinoa to a simmer in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, cover the pot, and cook until the quinoa is tender, and most of the milk has been absorbed {about 15 minutes}.
  3. Remove from heat, and stir in the honey and cinnamon. Serve topped with fruit.

Serves 1-2 {depending on your appetite}

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Adapted from Whole Living Magazine, September 2011

July 16, 2012

Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Lemonade Chicken

Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Lemonade Chicken

This recipe, from Six Sister’s Stuff, has been sitting in my Menu folder for exactly two months and I have no idea why I put off fixing it for so long.  I can say with certainty that it will definitely be made again.  The kids ate every last bite without complaint, that guy I married loved it (though he’s very easy to please when it comes to sweet and sour chicken) and I ate more than I should have, all resulting in some seriously full bellies!  After I modified the recipe a little, it was super easy to prepare and came out a healthier version.

I served this with brown rice and since I knew my schedule around dinner time was going to be spent driving the kids to various activities, I prepped part of this dish earlier in the afternoon; I chopped all the veggies, opened the can of water chestnuts and combined them all in a gallon sized bag.  I also cooked the rice and stored it in the fridge, so I could pull it out when ready to serve (I popped it in the microwave for one minute, just long enough to take the chill off.)


  • 10-12 frozen chicken tenderloins
  • 6 oz., frozen lemonade concentrate (100% juice if you can find it)
  • 5 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 Tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • Sesame seeds (optional)
  • 3 cups vegetables, chopped (water chestnuts, half a red and yellow pepper, small head of broccoli, snow peas)


  1. Place tenderloins in the bottom of your slow cooker.
  2. Combine lemonade, brown sugar, ketchup, vinegar, corn starch and water in a bowl; mix well and pour over chicken.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high 3-4 hours.
  4. Remove cooked chicken from the slow cooker and set aside.
  5. Toss chopped vegetables in large sautĂ© pan and pour 1/4 cup sauce from the crock pot over vegetables.  Cook on high until veggies are tender – about 10 minutes.
  6. Mix flour into the sauce that’s left in the crock pot, whisking until combined, on low heat.
  7. Pour sauce over rice, chicken and vegetable. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, and serve.

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June 23, 2012

Quinoa Greek Salad

Quinoa Greek Salad
Everyone keeps talking about easy weeknight meals because they’re too busy to pull something elaborate together.  My reality is that I only make easy stuff because I’m lazy.  The time it takes to prep some dishes bores me to the point of insanity!  Back to Her Roots published this recipe earlier this month and it’s exactly what I want.  Easy.  Quick.  Healthy.  It now resides happily in the archive of Maynard where it will be used over and over again.
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 8 ounces grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 loose cup fresh parsley, minced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 cup kalamata olives, halved
  • 4 ounces feta, crumbled or cubed


  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon fresh dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  1. In a medium saucepan stir together quinoa and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil over high heat, stir once, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 20-25 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes. Then fluff with a fork.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, combine cucumber, tomatoes, red pepper, parsley, onion, olives and feta.
  3. In a small bowl, combine olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, dill, salt, pepper, honey and lemon juice. Pour over salad and stir to combine.
  4. Add cooked quinoa to salad and mix well.  Refrigerate for at least an hour to allow flavors to marry.

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June 19, 2012

Raw Oatmeal Snacks

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My middle child is the adventurous one.  The one with the messiest room, the sense of style that always surprises me and the one who loves to experiment in the kitchen.  Recipe cards?  Not on her watch!  Last night she wanted a snack so she set out to make granola bars and came up with this super healthy, very satisfying snack instead. 

Her measurements did not include any cups or spoons, relying on her “sense of feel”, instead.  After eyeballing the bowl of goods, I estimated what was in there.  In the end you’ll want the balls to stick together as much as possible, though hers didn’t stick well – she grumbled through it though and after they were frozen they were the perfect texture,  chewy and sweet.


  • 2/3 cup raw almonds
  • 1 cup uncooked oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 Tablespoons honey
  • 8-10 dried apricots, finely chopped


  1. In a food processor, process the almonds, oats and cinnamon until it’s very fine.
  2. Pour into a bowl and mix honey and chopped apricots in. 
  3. Roll the mixture into balls teaspoon sized balls and carefully place in a freezer bag.  Freeze for 30 minutes or so until they’re firm.

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June 14, 2012

Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas

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Summer is officially here.  I mean, it’s been here for three weeks now and I’ve been trying to keep up with the kids.  Entertaining them, driving them places, feeding them, cleaning up after them.  It’s an excuse, really, for why I haven’t posted so long here at Maynard.  It’s a good excuse, but in the end, still just an excuse.  Maybe this recipe will make up for it?  It was Pinned at Pinterest several weeks back via Perry’s Palate; it’s very simple to pull together & full of varying flavors and textures.


  • 2 red bell peppers, cut into matchsticks
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 medium onion, halved and slivered
  • 1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 cups salsa or pico de gallo
  • 2 ounces baby spinach leaves (about 2 big handfuls)
  • 9-10 corn tortillas, halved
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (I used a cheddar-Monterey Jack blend)
  • sour cream and thinly sliced scallions (green onions) for garnish, if desired


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

  1. Place red bell peppers, cauliflower, sweet potato, onion, and corn kernels onto cookie sheet. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle the cumin and minced garlic over top. Add a generous pinch or two of salt and black pepper, then use your hands to mix everything together. Spread the vegetables evenly in the pan.
  2. Roast for 30-40 minutes until vegetables are tender and begin to brown in spots. Stir or shake the pan every 10 minutes for even roasting. Remove pan from oven and reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.
  3. Prepare an 8x8x2 or 9x9x2-inch square baking pan with nonstick spray.
  4. In a small bowl, stir the cilantro into the salsa.
  5. Spread 1/4 cup of salsa into the bottom of the baking pan. Add a layer of tortilla pieces, to completely cover the salsa. Top with 1/3 of the vegetables, a handful of spinach, and 1/3 of the cheese.
  6. Make a second layer of tortilla, salsa, vegetables, spinach, and cheese. Top with with a layer of tortillas, salsa, vegetables, and cheese. Cover with aluminum foil.

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 10 minutes, until cheese is melted and everything is heated through.  Let it sit for 5 minutes and cut into squares. Serve with sour cream and a sprinkle of sliced scallions.

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April 25, 2012

Anzac Biscuits

Anzac BiscuitsAustralian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) soldiers, for whom the “biscuits” were named, landed on the coast of Turkey, now known as Anzac Cove, on April 25th, 1915.  Anzac biscuits were created during World War I, and the Great Depression because they don’t contain eggs or milk and they can be stored for long periods of time.  Wives and mother’s of Australian soldiers would bake up batches of the biscuits and ship them to the soldiers who were away at war.

Don’t let the name of this recipe fool you into thinking they’re biscuits.  I found this recipe in a Highlights magazine way back in 2006.  I remember spending the day baking with my three little ones and have wanted to remake them since.They come out of the oven with a distinctly sweet honey smell and their chewy texture makes a perfect not-too-sugary snack.  Ironically, a few days ago, I saw on my kitchen calendar that today is Anzac day and thought of these cookies and knew it was the perfect time to add them to Maynard’s collection!


  • 2 cups oats
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup sweetened coconut
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 6 Tablespoons hot water
  • 4 Tablespoons honey


Pre-heat oven 325*

  1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. In a small bowl mix butter, water and honey.  Pour into flour mixture and mix until combined.
  3. With a table spoon, scoop out the dough and tightly press together with your hands then flatten slightly.
  4. Cook for 12-15 minutes until golden brown on the bottom.

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April 23, 2012

Asian Chicken Noodle Soup

Light Asian Chicken Noodle Soup

This is another recipe from Confections of a Foodie Bride that is as good the next day for lunch as it was for dinner the night before.    Warm, soft noodles and crisp vegetables make this a perfect dish for a spring evening, pull-together meal. 

  • 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lb. chicken tenders, cut to bite size chunks
  • 1 cup grated carrots (about 2 medium carrots)
  • 1 large red pepper, stemmed and seeded, and cut into strips
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 4 cups chicken broth (or 4 cups water/4 chicken bullion cubes)
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 oz. thin Asian noodles
  • 6 oz. snow peas, halved
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions (dark green parts only)


  1. Heat a large pot oven over medium-high heat, and add the oil.  Toss the chicken in and add a dash of salt and pepper.  Sear about 3 minutes per side, until nicely browned.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium, and add the carrots, red pepper, garlic, ginger, rice vinegar, broth, and water to the pot.
  3. Add the chicken back to the pot.
  4. Simmer (don’t boil) the soup over medium or medium-low for 40 minutes.
  5. Add the noodles to the pot and cook for 3-5 (check the package for  how long they take).
  6. Add the snow peas and green onions and cook 2-4 minutes, until the snow peas have turned bright green. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

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April 19, 2012

Blueberry Buttermilk Breakfast Cake

Blueberry Buttermilk Breakfast Cake

I spotted this recipe when Pam, at For the Love of Cooking, first posted it and knew it’d be something I’d want to share with good friends. 

I doubled the original recipe (below) knowing that the kids would want some as well. I used a 13x9 inch pan and cooked at the same temperature as below, for 55 minutes.  I was a little nervous doubling it because I wasn’t sure how the extra batter would affect cook time, but it turned out as good, if not better than expected.  The top and bottom were just beginning to get dark, but the inside stayed moist and fluffy.  I served this with mimosas (to my friends, not my kids!) and loved every minute of my 10 AM buzz!

  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons white sugar
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 2 cups of flour, minus 2 Tablespoons (for the blueberries)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup of buttermilk
  • 2 cups of fresh blueberries
  • 1 Tablespoon white sugar (for the top)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  1. Coat a 8x8 baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the butter, sugar, and lemon zest together with a mixer until creamy & smooth.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined.
  4. In a small bowl, add 2 tablespoons of flour to the blueberries and toss to coat evenly.
  5. In a medium bowl, mix the remaining flour together with the baking powder and salt until well mixed.
  6. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture a little at a time alternating with the buttermilk, then fold in the blueberries gently.
  7. Spread batter into the pan evenly (it will be very thick).
  8. Sprinkle the 1 tablespoon of sugar evenly on top of the batter.
  9. Place into the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let it cool for a few minutes before cutting and serving.

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March 12, 2012

Kale Salad

Kale Salad

With all the dreary rainy days lately I wanted comfort food so I pulled some beef stroganoff together but knew I’d need a hearty vegetable to go along with it.  I found the original recipe for this salad at Epicurious but didn’t notice that I had to soak currents overnight until I was ready to prepare the salad for dinner.  It didn’t help that I couldn’t find currents at the store.  It’s possible that I couldn’t find them because I don’t know what currents are.  I bought dried cherries instead, adapted the recipe and pulled it all together in one bowl 20 minutes before the stroganoff was done.  The recipe below is how I prepared it.  It was so good and kale always surprises me with how mildly flavored it is.  Love it.


  • 1/4 cup dried cherries
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bunch of kale, center ribs and stems removed, leaves thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1/4 cup raw pine nuts
  • Parmesan cheese shavings


  1. Whisk balsamic vinegar, rice vinegar, honey, oil, and salt in large bowl.
  2. Add kale, cherries, and pine nuts; toss to coat.
  3. Let marinate 20 minutes at room temperature, tossing occasionally.
  4. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle cheese shavings over salad and serve.

March 10, 2012

Tiramisu Layer Cake

Tiramisu Layer CakeAlso known as Mystery Murder cake because I made this especially to take to my friend Heather’s house who hosted a How to Host a Murder night.  64185_2740071101657_1253806579_31973189_464162033_nBeyond my expectations of fun, she decorated her dining room to go along with the theme of the game and four hours later, with bellies full of chicken parmesan and this cake, we revealed who the murderer was. 

I chose this cake from Allrecipes because the prep looked easy, the ingredients were common and I didn’t want to have to buy a fancy dish for traditional tiramisu.  As I prepared the batter I read the reviews and so many people commented that they added extra instant coffee to enhance the flavor.  One reviewer said he increased the instant coffee by four times so that was what I intended to do, but wound up mis-reading the measurement and instead of four teaspoons, added four tablespoons instead.  Too late to make another trip to the store, I just blended it into the batter hoping it would add to the cake rather than make it in-edible.  I also halved the amount of liqueur in both the filling and the frosting in hopes that the cake wouldn’t be overwhelmingly coffee-tasting.  The recipe below is exactly as I prepped it.  It turned out better than I had hoped, the coffee flavor was exactly like I hoped it would be and my “oops” will be how I make this the next time.



  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package moist white cake mix (I used Duncan Hines Classic White; it calls for egg whites)
  • 4 Tablespoons instant coffee powder
  • 1/2 cup coffee
  • 1 tablespoon coffee flavored liqueur


  • 1 (8 ounce) container mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tablespoons coffee flavored liqueur


  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tablespoons coffee flavored liqueur


  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 square Ghirardelli Intense Dark Midnight Reverie 86% cacao (this can be found down the candy aisle as a bag of individually wrapped chocolates)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

  1. Grease and flour 3 (9 inch) pans.
  2. Prepare the cake mix according to package directions. Pour one third of batter into one pan. Stir instant coffee into remaining batter; pour into remaining two pans.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
  4. In a measuring cup, combine brewed coffee and 1 tablespoon coffee liqueur; set aside.
  5. To make the filling: In a small bowl, using an electric mixer set on low speed, combine mascarpone, 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar and 1 tablespoon coffee liqueur; beat just until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
  6. To make the frosting: In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer set on medium-high speed, beat the cream, 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar and 1 tablespoon1 coffee liqueur until stiff. Fold 1/2 cup of cream mixture into filling mixture.
  7. To assemble the cake: Place one coffee-flavored cake layer on a serving plate. Using a thin skewer, poke holes in cake, about 1 inch apart. With a turkey baster slowly “baste” one third of coffee mixture over cake, then spread with half of the filling mixture. Top with plain cake layer; poke holes in cake. Squeeze another third of the coffee mixture over the second layer and spread with the remaining filling. Top with remaining cake layer; poke holes in cake.  Squeeze remaining coffee mixture on top. Spread sides and top of cake with frosting. Place cocoa in a sieve and lightly dust top of cake. Garnish with chocolate curls. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving.
  8. To make the chocolate curls, use a vegetable peeler and run it down the edge of the chocolate bar.

March 1, 2012

Tomato-Basil Parmesan Soup

Tomato-Basil Parmesean Soup

Sometimes I just don't want to have stuff in the crock pot all day, sometimes I’m extra lazy, and sometimes I like to procrastinate.  I found this recipe at 365 Days of Slow Cooking and intended, for several days, to prepare it as it was written.  Then I didn’t.  My kids aren’t picky eaters but, to me, the less questions about dinner’s ingredients the better.  So I pureed all the veggies first, then after everything was in the pot, I also used my immersion blender and whipped it up till it was almost entirely smooth.

I served this with a nutty fruit bread and it was really, very good and a great go-to recipe for busy weeknight!  The next day we had the leftovers and I just pulled out a few croissants and since those are French, I felt extra fancy so we called it a good Thursday night dinner.


  • 2 (14 oz.) cans diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 2 handfuls baby carrots
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano or 1 T fresh oregano
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Puree all vegetables.
  2. Add all ingredients except cheese to stock pot. 
  3. Bring to a light boil over medium-high heat, stirring often to avoid burning the cream.  Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often for 30 minutes.
  4. Top with cheese before serving.

February 28, 2012

Milk Chocolate Toffee Cookies

Milk Chocolate Toffee Cookies

I bought a pack of Heath Milk Chocolate Toffee bits at the store thinking I’d use whatever recipe was on the back to make cookies over the weekend with the kids.  When I pulled them out to bake, however, I realized there wasn’t a recipe for cookies so I Googled for one and after several recipes that called for fancy shmancy chocolate to be melted over the double boiler, I found and adapted this one this one from Simply Recipes

Forty percent of the people in my family-of-five prefer a cookie without chocolate so I wanted something we’d all enjoy.  Like the name implies, this is a simple, flat, crispy cookie, that exceeded my expectations of what a cookie should be! 

Note: these cookies require you to refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes prior to baking so plan your time accordingly.

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 8 oz. (1 1/3) cups Heath Milk Chocolate Toffee Bits


  1. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda.
  2. In a small bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time, then add vanilla.
  3. Mix toffee bits and flour mixture into butter mixture until well blended. Chill cookie dough for at least 30 minutes (better an hour or longer).
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F. On cookie sheets lined with parchment paper spoon out the cookie dough in small 1-inch diameter balls (size of a large marble).
    • Place dough balls 3 inches away from each other on the cookie sheets. (Make sure there is plenty of room between the cookie balls, and that the cookie balls aren't too big. These cookies spread!)  Put the dough back in the fridge between batches to keep it cool and easy to work with.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the edges are just starting to brown. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes. Then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 6 dozen cookies.

February 20, 2012

Creole Jambalaya


Creole jambalaya, also known as red jambalaya, is a dish that’s usually cooked and served with some type of seafood.  If I had my way I’d add the shrimp, but The Man and the kids would go to bed hungry rather than eat shrimp, so I omit the fish but still like to call this dish Creole. 

Creole jambalaya originates from the French Quarter of New Orleans, in the original European sector. It was an attempt by the Spanish to make paella in the New World, where saffron was not readily available due to import costs. Tomatoes became the substitute for saffron. As time went on, French influence became strong in New Orleans, and spices from the Caribbean changed this New World paella into a unique dish. In modern Louisiana, the dish has evolved along a variety of different lines. Creole jambalaya, or red jambalaya as it is called by Cajuns, is found primarily in and around New Orleans, where it is simply known as 'jambalaya'. Creole jambalaya includes tomatoes, whereas Cajun jambalaya does not.

And now you know.


  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 medium green peppers, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 1.25 lbs. chicken tenderloins, cut into chunks
  • 1 T Cajun seasoning
  • 1 lb. Polska kielbasa
  • 28 oz. petite diced tomatoes, un-drained
  • 38 oz. chicken broth
  • 2 cups long grain brown rice


  1. Place onions, peppers & celery in slow cooker.  Top with chicken then seasoning.  Top with sausage & tomatoes.
  2. Add rice and broth, then press all the rice down so it’s all covered with broth.
  3. Cover & cook on low 5-6 hours. Or on low for 2 hours and high for 2 hours.

*Facts found at Wikipedia

February 13, 2012

Fish Tacos with Grapefruit and Avocado Salsa

Grapefruit Tacos

Foodie Bride offered these up and they’re just good, simple food; easy to throw together and the best part for me was the fact that I could wrap the leftovers, individually, in tin foil to heat in the oven the next day for lunch.   



  • 1 large grapefruit, segmented and chopped
  • 1 small avocado, diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped jalapeno
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 lb. halibut filet (or your favorite white fish)
  • small flour tortillas 
  • 5 Tablespoons Greek yogurt


  1. For the salsa, toss the grapefruit, avocado, red onion, lime juice, cilantro, jalapeno, red bell pepper, and a pinch of salt in a small bowl.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet pan and heat over medium-high.
  3. Season filets with salt and pepper and cook 4 minutes each side, until the fish flakes easily and is cooked through.
  4. Remove from the pan and flake with a fork.
  5. Divide fish between the tortillas and top with salsa and a dollop of yogurt.

February 9, 2012

Traditional New Orleans King Cake

King Cake

We were recently invited to a poker night and asked to bring something for everyone to share and among the other foods around the snack table, a king cake made it’s colorful appearance.  In all my years alive I’d never heard of such a cake so I was excited to try it!  It’s very similar to a cinnamon roll, but in cake-like form, with a coating of colored sugar that adds a sweet crunch to the doughy cinnamon ring. 

A king cake is generally associated with Mardi Gras, served as a pre-Lenten celebration.  Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday and refers to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season, which begins on Ash Wednesday. 

My good friend Kelli invited me to her house to make this cake and show me the method that she found at Taste of Home.  While time consuming it’s not particularly hard but with the two, one-hour rise times, you’ll want to allow yourself a full morning or afternoon to complete this one.


  • 2 packs (1/4 oz. each) active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water (110-120 degrees)
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup warm 2% milk (110-120 degrees)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 1/4 to 3 3/4 cups flour (I used about a cup or two more)
  • 1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg, beaten


  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice (I used 1 teaspoons)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons water
  • Green, purple, and yellow sugars


  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water.  Add 1/2 cup sugar, butter, milk, egg yolks, salt, lemon peel, nutmeg and 2 cups flour.  Beat until smooth.  Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough (dough will be sticky).
  2. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes.  Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. 
  3. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  4. Punch dough down.  Turn onto a lightly floured surface.  Roll into a 16 x 10 inch rectangle. 
  5. Combine cinnamon and remaining sugar; sprinkle over dough to within 1/2 in of edges.  Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a long side; pinch seam to seal.  Place seam side down on a greased baking sheet; pinch ends together to form a ring. 
  6. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. 
  7. Brush with egg, then bake at 375* degrees for 25-30  minutes or until golden brown.  Cool completely on a wire rack. 
  8. For glaze, combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice and enough water to achieve desired consistency.  Spread over cake. 
  9. Sprinkle with colored sugars.

February 8, 2012

Sugar Cookie Bars

Sugar Cookie BarsI’ve been craving sugar cookies for a while now but I loathe making the mess involved in their creation.  I found both the cookies and the frosting at Six Sisters Stuff and though I modified the frosting quite a bit, I was immediately hooked!  All the goodness, none of the mess. 

The best part is getting to share one of these with my 13 year old when she comes home from school.  It’s just her and I for a solid hour before the younger kiddos get home and it’s one of my favorite times of the day where the world seems to stop and wait patiently while we catch up on everything that happens in her middle school world.

The frosting is seriously the best frosting I’ve made to date.  The texture is perfect and it’s just sweet enough without being overwhelming.  


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoons baking soda


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine or butter, softened
  • 1 Tablespoon milk
  • 3 Tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • couple of drops food coloring(optional)

Combine all ingredients until well-blended. Spread on top of bars. Top with sprinkles if you want!


Preheat oven 375*

  1. In a large bowl beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each egg. Mix in vanilla.
  2. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, salt and baking soda. Add to wet mixture and mix with a spoon, just until combined.
  3. Using a rubber spatula sprayed with cooking spray, spread the dough evenly onto a greased, rimmed 13x18x1 cookie sheet. 
  4. Bake for 10-15 min, until light golden brown or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

February 4, 2012

Cordial Cherries

Cordial Cherries © 2008

This recipe has been in the archive for a very long time so I figured with Valentines just around the corner it was the perfect time to dust it off and give it new life. Despite the fact that this is one of the few recipes that takes more than a “few minutes”, it’s well worth the extra effort.  They’d make a perfect Valentine treat for someone special … or yourself for that matter.  I know I ate more than my fair share!

If you don’t have a double boiler pan, simply put a couple cups of water in a medium sauce pan, then put a smaller sauce pan inside making sure the smaller one doesn't touch the bottom of the larger pan. This is so that the heat of the simmering water melts the chocolate but keeps it from burning since the chocolate is not in direct contact with the heat source. I personally don’t recommend melting the chips in the microwave because it takes time to fill all the molds and by the time you get to the last one the chocolate will have hardened back up; but in the boiler the chocolate stays warm and melty making it much easier to work with.


  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 C. heavy cream
  • 1 jar maraschino cherries, drained very well & cut in half. 
  • cordial cherry candy molds – I used two but for faster making, buy 3 or 4!
  • 1 12 oz. package milk chocolate chips – this is personal preference. I think next time I’ll try semi sweet because the milk chocolate seemed a little too sweet.


1.  Using a double boiler, bring water to a boil then reduce to a simmer while stirring the chocolate chips to melt them.

2.  In a small bowl add sugar, vanilla and heavy cream. Mix very well until it’s a thick consistency with no lumps.  Set aside.

3.  Put a very tiny dollop of chocolate in the bottom of each mold; just enough to coat up the sides.  Leave enough room for the cherry, the sugar filling and another dollop of chocolate!  If you have a candy squeeze bottle it would make this process very easy.

4.  Chill the molds in the refrigerator 1-2 minutes.

5.  Remove from fridge and put a tiny dollop of the sugar mixture in each mold. Then place 1/2 cherry into sugar mixture. Cordial Cherries © 20086.  Now comes the "tricky" part. Put one last TINY dollop of chocolate to cover each cherry. Try not to go outside the mold - the more careful you are on this step the better your cordial cherries will look when they're finished (mine have a rough edge...this was my first attempt!).

7. Lightly tap the molds onto a flat surface to release air bubbles.

8.  Chill in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes or until mold appears frosty and the candy pieces are firm.

9.  Invert mold onto flat surface and tap gently to remove finished candy pieces. (If candy doesn’t release easily from the mold, chill two to three additional minutes. Do not force candy out of mold.)

Once these are prepared, if you want to liquefy the centers, store them at room temperature for about a week.  However, mine were melting just by sitting on the cupboard so I put them in a Tupperware with wax paper between layers and sealed tightly. They didn't last long enough to worry about shelf life!

January 30, 2012

Mexican Pizza

Mexican Pizza

I love meals that can be thrown together in a matter of a few minutes.  Despite the lengthy ingredient list this one, found at Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures, came together very easily and the taco sauce can easily be prepped by helpers who are dying to participate in the kitchen (with adult supervision when it comes time to cook, of course!). 

I made a few extra so I’d have lunch the next day, but when I pulled them out, the shells were soggy and not at all appetizing.  Next time I make this, I won’t make quite as many, and instead I’ll store the extras in the fridge, save a few crispy shells, and have a crunchy Mexi-pizza ready to prep for the next day.


  • 1 can refried beans, heated to make them easier to spread
  • 1 lb. of ground beef, cooked and seasoned with taco seasoning
  • shredded cheese, either cheddar or Colby Jack
  • 1 batch taco sauce*
  • chopped tomatoes
  • sliced olives
  • tostada shells

*Taco Sauce Ingredients

  • 8 ounce tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
    • Directions:  Mix all together in a blender until smooth. Pour sauce into pan and cook over med-low heat for 15-20 minutes. Don’t skip the cooking part of this. You need to heat the sauce up to really blend the flavors together.


Preheat oven to 400*

  1. Place tostada shells on a cookie sheet or a similar pan. 
  2. Spread beans on top of each shell.   Spread a layer of meat on top of beans and then sprinkle a small amount of cheese on top of meat. Place another shell on top.
  3. Spread taco sauce on the top shell and toss olives and tomatoes over them, then top with taco sauce.
  4. Sprinkle more cheese on top & bake for about 8 minutes or until heated through.

This gave me 8 prepped pizzas.

January 26, 2012

Cinnamon Sugar Donut Muffins

Donut Muffins

My love for donuts is rivaled only by my love for my children* so when I saw this recipe at Koko Cooks I knew I had to try them because I almost always forgo the donut section in the store.  Self restraint is a virtue I like to pretend I have, but the reality is, behind closed doors I could pack away half a dozen donuts on my own.  For real.  I’ll be honest though, I didn’t think these came out tasting like a donut, but more like a snicker-doodle in muffin form.  Lightly flavored &  dusted with cinnamon sugar, these come in as a close second to a donut, paired with a cup of coffee in the morning.

I doubled the recipe below and came out with 20 muffins.  Kept as is, you’ll get about a dozen, depending on how full you fill the tins.

*My husband read this and wondered aloud “So you love our kids AND donuts more than me, huh?”  Quick on my toes, I replied, “Of course not!  I love you more than donuts and our children.”  He was satisfied with this.  Carry on.


  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon


Preheat oven to 350˚F.

  1. Lightly coat a muffin tin with non-stick spray.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the sugar and egg.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg.
  4. Pour dry mixture into the egg mixture and stir to combine.  Add vegetable oil, milk, and vanilla, stirring until just combined.
  5. Divide batter evenly into muffin tin, filling each cup about 2/3 full.  Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes clean, about 17-18 minutes.
  6. Let cool for 10 minutes, then remove muffins from tin.
  7. In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon. While the muffins are still warm, press and roll each one in the mixture, coating all sides with the cinnamon sugar.

January 23, 2012

Bean and Cheese Enchiladas

Bean and Cheese Enchiladas
Found at Eat at Home, these far exceeded my expectations of a simple and fast dinner.  I thought I had a can of enchilada sauce on hand in the pantry but when I pulled everything out to make dinner, I found myself lacking!  Not wanting to make a trip to the store for a one can, and with thoughts to call for pizza, I stuck to the budget for the week and didn’t want to disappoint my eleven year old who was eager to help make dinner.  I Googled for an enchilada sauce substitute and found the recipe for it below.  DE-LI-CIOUS is the only word to describe these.  Full of robust flavor these were comfort food at it’s finest!
I also used a taco seasoning recipe that I’ve been using for several batches of tacos because there is so little sodium to it and it’s YUM to the extreme!
  • 2 cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Tablespoons. butter
  • 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 recipe for taco seasoning (below) OR 1 packet of taco seasoning mix
  • 1 recipe for enchilada sauce (below) OR 10 oz can enchilada sauce
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (I used Monterey Jack and cheddar)
  • 18 flour tortillas
1.  Put taco seasoning*, butter, beans and half the can of tomato sauce in a pan.  Heat on medium, mash the beans and mix everything together. 
2.  Mix the enchilada sauce spices & water with the remaining tomato sauce.  Pour a bit in the bottom of a 9×13 inch pan and spread it around.  This will help keep the enchiladas from sticking.
4.  Spread some mashed beans on each tortilla and top with shredded cheese.  Roll up tightly and place in the pan.  (Yes, I managed to get all 18 tortillas in the pan.)
5. Pour the sauce over the top and add more cheese to the top.   Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
  • 2 teaspoons mild chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried onion flakes
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 water
Taco SeasoningAll Recipes
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Taco Seasoning

Taco Seasoning

About a year and a half ago, I made enchiladas and used home made enchilada sauce and taco seasoning that I found at All Recipes.  I’ve gone back to that recipe again and again because I love the seasonings so much!  Very low sodium, very easy to toss together and it costs pennies compared to the kind in the packet…not to mention it’s the perfect job to give one of the kids (or your significant other!) to do while you’re prepping the rest of the meal.

I like tons of flavor in my taco meat so I use all of this for a pound of ground beef.  If it looks like a little too much for your taste, just use half and save the rest in an airtight container for next time.


  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Mix into your cooked and drained taco meat with 3/4 cup water, then simmer till liquid has reduced by about half.

January 18, 2012

Chicken & Edamame with Orange Ginger Dressing

Chicken & Edamame with Orange Ginger Dressing

This recipe was chosen on impulse one morning while I was browsing for a new dinner to make.  Found at Confections of a Foodie Bride, I modified as I cooked (something I almost never do) and it turned out so much better than I thought. 

As for the chicken, I’d forgotten that the recipe called for chicken in the first place and I didn’t have any prepared so I put it all in my tiny crock pot with the salsa, turned it up to high and let it go for about 2 1/2 hours.  It came out perfect and required almost no prep other than breaking it up before adding it to the main dish.If you have cooked chicken or prefer to cook it on the barbeque, omit the salsa.  I opted to go for long grain brown rice, and started it cooking when there was about an hour to go on the chicken so it’d all come together at the same time. 

The edamame came straight out of the freezer, then was tossed into a colander and run under hot water several times while the rice cooked.  Then I salted them liberally with course sea salt and then set them aside until ready to combine with the main dish


  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1.25 lbs. chicken tenderloins, cooked and chopped
  • 2 cups brown rice (1 cup if you want fewer leftovers)
  • 4 cups chicken broth (2 cups if you only use 1 cup of rice)
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 large lime, juiced
  • 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • salt
  • 16 oz. frozen shelled edamame, thawed and liberally salted
  • 1 large red bell pepper diced
  • 2 small avocados, sliced
  • Small handful of cilantro, chopped, for garnish  


  1. Cook chicken and salsa in small crockpot on high for 2 hours or until done.
  2. Cook brown rice, according to package directions, in chicken broth.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together orange juice, lime juice, oil, and ginger.
  4. Add thawed and salted edamame, red bell pepper, and chicken, tossing to coat.
  5. Spoon mixture over brown rice and garnish with avocado slices and cilantro.

This made enough for the five of us with at least enough leftover for two full lunches…and then some.

January 2, 2012

Split Pea & Ham Soup

Split Pea & Ham Soup

So it’s winter here and I’m going to post another soup recipe because I can.  Even though it doesn’t feel like winter.  Or look like winter.  And even though we’re still going outdoors to enjoy the sunshine without so much as a jacket, my brain tells me it’s winter so I’m making soup.  I figure I have about two more good soup-months before it’s too warm to even consider the hot dinner until next November.

To date, except for The Exorcist, I have had zero experience with split pea soup.  So I was excited when I saw that Our Best Bites offered a recipe that would allow me to not only use up our last bit of Christmas ham (it’s been waiting in our freezer), but would also give me a taste of the soup that was featured in one of the most disturbing movies of all time.  What’s not to love?!


  • 1 lb. dried split peas, rinsed and sorted
  • 2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 lb. bone-in ham, diced into small pieces and trimmed of excessive fat (or that last bit of leftover ham, cut into bits)
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon malt vinegar


  1. Place all the ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4 hours. You can also cook it on high until it starts to boil and then turn the setting on low until you’re ready to serve the soup. Top with croutons.

Makes 8 1 1/2-cup servings.