Saturday, June 30, 2007

Grilled Portabellas and Caprise Salad, an idea from Barb

Much to my mothers dismay - I never measure - afterall recipes aren't carved in stone - they're written on paper.

For the 'shrooms:
some balsamic vinegar (good stuff)
some EVOO (okay stuff)
Liquid Smoke (not too much a little goes a long way with this stuff)
McCormick Montreal Steak Seasoning
Put it all together and poured it over them and let them soak it up for about 4 hours - then just grilled until tender

My Caprese
Tomatoes - chunked up (I like to get all the juices out of them into the bowl for the sauce)
Chunks of Mozzarella
Very good EVOO - dipping quality!!!
McCormick California Style Garlic Salt w/Parsley
Italian Seasoning (Oregano, Rosemary, Thyme )
Let it all get happy together then save the sauce for dipping with crusty bread.

Suggested by Kris - Raspberry Slushies inspired by Cooking Light

I'm trying my hand at making fruit slushy ice today. I had 2 cartons of fresh raspberries that were going to go bad if I didn't use them. I found a recipe in this month's edition of Cooking Light (thanks Heather!) for blackberry slushy ice, and I just substituted raspberries. I used all my fresh and half a bag of frozen to equal the 1 pound. If this works out well, I'll try another batch with splenda, just to decrease the sugar we are consuming. If I like it, then I'll make different fruit slushy ice and serve it with frozen margaritas. Then, island grill night at my house will have jerk chicken, limey-coconut rice and fresh fruit slushy margaritas! My house will be popular....

Here's the recipe:

1.5 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
1 lb raspberries (fresh or frozen)
1/4 tsp grated fresh lemon rind
1 TBSP fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp rose water (I omitted this)

Mix water and sugar in saucepan and heat until sugar dissolves. Pour into blender with remaining ingredients and puree. Pour through strainer into glass baking dish. Place in freezer and stir with a fork every 45 minutes until frozen. After about 3 hours, fluff with fork and serve. Will keep in freezer for 3 days.

Suggested by Karli - Red, White and Blue Cookies

Red, White and Blue Cookies

Show your colors rolled up in an easy buttery cookie.

Prep Time:20 min
Start to Finish:1 hr 30 min
Makes:6 dozen cookies

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 egg
2 1/4 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons red colored sugars
2 tablespoons blue colored sugars

Beat granulated sugar, butter, almond extract and egg in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed 2 minutes. Stir in flour.

Divide dough in half; cover half and set aside. Place remaining half on waxed paper or plastic wrap; press into 8-inch square. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon each of the red sugar and blue sugar. Using waxed paper to lift, roll up dough. Repeat with remaining dough and colored sugars. Wrap rolls in plastic wrap and refrigerate about 1 hour or until firm.

Heat oven to 375ºF. Cut rolls into 1/4-inch slices. Place about 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 6 to 8 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.
(Total time will vary; cook or bake time is per batch.)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Two Yogurt Chicken Marinades, from Kris

Yogurt also makes a great marinade for chicken. I regularly use yogurt to marinate chicken that I will cook on the grill. Sounds weird, but it always turns out juicy.

In a large zipbag, mix yogurt with juice from 1 lemon, add 2 tsp curry powder, 2 tsp paprika, 1 tsp ground dry mustard, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp ground coriander, 1/2 tsp ground ginger, 1/2 tsp garlic powder. Add chicken and marinate for at least 4 hours. Grill until chicken is done.

Or you can also mix (in a large zipbag), yogurt with 1/2 - 3/4 cup of your favorite fresh salsa. I like to use the baja salsa from "Baja Fresh" restaurant. Marinate chicken at least 4 hours then grill.

Suggested by Heather - Fragrant Chicken in Creamy Almond Sauce

And this one from Cooking Light, which is fairly time-consuming and kind be a PIA, but oh-so-good.

Fragrant Chicken in Creamy Almond Sauce
Cooking Light, AUGUST 2000


1 tablespoon olive oil
6 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
5 bay leaves
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 1/2 pounds skinned, boned chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup fat-free sour cream
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted and ground
1/3 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted
Cinnamon sticks (optional)


Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 6 cinnamon sticks and bay leaves. Cook 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add onion and garlic; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Add the curry powder, turmeric, salt, and cardamom. Add chicken and broth; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 35 minutes or until chicken is tender.

Remove the chicken from pan with a slotted spoon. Cook remaining liquid in pan over low heat 5 minutes. Combine sour cream, flour, and sugar in a small bowl; stir in 1/2 cup hot liquid. Add the sour cream mixture to pan, stirring until smooth. Return chicken to pan; stir in ground almonds. Cook 5 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently. Sprinkle with bell pepper. Discard the cinnamon sticks and bay leaves. Sprinkle with slivered almonds; garnish with cinnamon sticks, if desired.


6 servings (serving size: about 1 cup chicken mixture and 1 teaspoon almonds)

Nutritional Information

CALORIES 304(23% from fat); FAT 7.9g (sat 1.3g,mono 4.2g,poly 1.3g); PROTEIN 46.9g; CHOLESTEROL 110mg; CALCIUM 60mg; SODIUM 410mg; FIBER 2.1g; IRON 2.4mg; CARBOHYDRATE 8.7g

Uses for Leftover Yogurt, from Heather

Here are the sauces that I make regularly using plain yogurt:
1) the tzatziki that you mentioned
2) raita - which is very similar to tzatziki depending on how you make it... drained yogurt, drained grated cucumbers, cilantro, salt, and whatever spices (I usually use a little mint and a decent amt of cumin; my MIL would probably put in cumin & red chili powder) - served with any Indian/Pakistani food I make
3) yogurt tahini sauce from the falafel recipe that's on the blog:
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons tahini (sesame-seed paste)
1 garlic clove, minced

Yogurt usually lasts a while, so you could use the rest of it next week by making some Greek-style grilled chicken and putting it in pitas with tzatziki. You can substitute sour cream for yogurt in a lot of things - even on a baked potato. You can make a "curry" chicken salad - cubed chicken, celery, apples, dried cranberries, with a sauce of drained yogurt, a little mayo, & curry powder. Also you can bake lots of stuff with yogurt. There are a bunch of recipes on I know I have made some CL coffee cake or blueberry coffee cake (or maybe both) a few times with yogurt and it was amazing, but I can't remember which one it was right now.

And another way I use yogurt is to thicken sauces in Indian dishes. The two that I'm thinking of right now are:

Ground beef (actually should be lamb, but I'm not a lamb cooker) with garlic, ginger, onion, diced tomatoes, spices, & yogurt. I've had ppl tell me to make it a number of different ways, but the simplest on was where you brown the beef & onions with all the spices, garlic, & ginger and then throw in the tomatoes and the yogurt toward the end. The basic spices are turmeric, cumin, & red chili powder. You can add other stuff like cloves, cinammon, cardamom. It might be just as easy to use a premade garam masala and some extra chili.

Turkey Tips, from Allison

The basic idea with doing turkey burgers, turkey meatloaf, or whatever, is that you have to add a little liquid back, preferably with strong flavors, to keep it from getting dry and yucky. Usually sauteed onions and garlic help, you can also do stuff like throw mustard directly into the meat and the like. So this is just one possibility. The spinach has a lot of moisture in it and, well, cheese is always good. love Even just throwing BBQ sauce into the patties helps considerably. So the onions and garlic aren't necessities.

Suggested by Allison - Rachael Ray's Spanakopita Burgers

Here's the official spanakopita burger recipe from Rachael Ray:

1 Tbsp EVOO
1 tsp butter
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 onion, half chopped, the rest for topping the burger
a 10-oz box frozen spinach, defrosted
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 lb. feta crumbles
1 1/3 lbs ground chicken or turkey
1 Tbsp grill seasoning if you want it

Saute the onion and garlic in the oil and butter over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Remove to a bowl to cool.

Wring the defrosted spinach dry. Throw everything into the bowl, mix together, and form four patties from this. Raise the heat to medium high, add the patties, cook 6 minutes on each side (or grill them, whatever).

She tops it with sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, sauteed onion slices, shredded arugula and hot peppers, then slathers the top bun with a mix of roasted red peppers and olives.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Suggested by Allison - Baked Beets

Baked Beets
from Jamie Oliver's The Naked Chef Takes Off

1 lb fresh raw beets, scrubbed (I cut them up a bit as it says golf-ball sized and mine weren't)
10 clovers garlic, squashed and peeled
a handful fresh oregano, leaves picked from stems
salt and pepper
a good glug balsamic vinegar (it says 10 Tbsp, I didn't use nearly that much)
a good glug olive oil (same story -- it says 6 Tbsp.)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Tear off around 5 feet of aluminum foil and fold it in half to give double thickness. Place beets in the middle of the foil and everything else on top, folding the bottom up some before adding the liquids. Then seal the foil around the beets. Put on a baking sheet, place in the oven, and cook around an hour, until tender.

Suggested by Heather - Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad

Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad
Cooking Light, AUGUST 2006


1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2/3 cup light sour cream
1 tablespoon minced chipotle chile, canned in adobo sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
4 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt

4 cups shredded romaine lettuce
2 cups chopped roasted skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 2 breasts)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup diced peeled avocado
1/3 cup thinly vertically sliced red onion
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (8 3/4-ounce) can no-salt-added whole-kernel corn, rinsed and drained


To prepare dressing, combine first 7 ingredients, stirring well.

To prepare salad, combine lettuce and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle dressing over salad; toss gently to coat. Serve immediately.


4 servings (serving size: 2 1/2 cups)

Nutritional Information

CALORIES 249(30% from fat); FAT 8.2g (sat 2.8g,mono 2.9g,poly 0.7g); PROTEIN 23.3g; CHOLESTEROL 50mg; CALCIUM 106mg; SODIUM 650mg; FIBER 7g; IRON 2.2mg; CARBOHYDRATE 25.1g

Grilling Tips, from Jim

A cheap alternative for the planks (which are outrageously priced for a piece of frickin wood) is to get some cedar fence boards and cut to size. Disclaimer - Make sure they aren't treated, but I don't think many (if any) are.

Ribs in a foil boat won't cut it here in Texas... If you have a 3-burner 2-tier grill you can adjust it with one burner to get about 250 degrees and put the ribs on the far side on the 2nd tier. Put some wet wood chips in the foil boat and seal it up, then put it over the burner (may have to put it under the grill, right on the burner) to get some smoke. Add wood as needed but don't overdo it. Put some dry rub (search or similar site for rib rub) on the ribs ahead of time and smoke for ~3 hours. Let them sit covered for a while when they're done, if you have the patience... mmmmmmm Not a quick meal but good for a weekend when you're puttering about outside anyway.

My favorite grilling these days is the little pork riblets. They're pretty cheap too. I use the same rub I use for regular ribs, or for variety I use lemon pepper, steak seasoning, season-all, garlic salt, or whatever sounds good. Trim them good. Grill on medium heat until they're done, moving the done ones (they'll shrink when they're done) to the top rack. Make sure and let them sit covered for a while after they're done. Tear them up into single-bone pieces to eat.

Salmon Grill Tip, from Jake

Another way to prepare salmon is to use alder or other wood planks, available in some Costco and grocery stores. Soak the planks, then put the fish right on it. The alder protects the flesh of the fish and adds a sweet smoky flavor. Top with lemon.

Grilling Ideas from Jake

Next weekend I'm doing chicken and ribs. We like a marinade called Dakota Buckaroo. The chicken will be done over low heat because these are quarters with the bone-in, so they have to be done slower to avoid raw meat around the bone. The ribs will be done over low heat in a foil boat to avoid flare-ups that char the outside and cause them to be done too soon.

Steak Marinade, from JulieZ

Okay, here's my marinade ... it's so damn good, I should bottle it, but it wouldn't be the same. Sorry no real measurements, I just eyeball it.

I get the steaks all laying in a shallow dish. Then I sprinkle on a light dusting of cumin, both sides, then I really cover/layer one side with onion powder and garlic powder (I get the really good garlic granules from the bulk bin), I flip over to coat both sides.

I'm usually into using fresh onion and garlic, but this is one instance where the dry works well (as long as it hasn't been sitting on the shelf for years ).

I poke holes in the steak with a fork so the marinade sinks in; I know some people are against this since it could let the juices drain, but I've never had a problem with them drying out.

Let's see, then I add some dried red chili pepper flakes, then some dried or fresh cilantro. I sprinkle on some Tabasco sauce, not too much, can make it have that sour taste.

Then I pour on some lite-sodium soy sauce and then some beer (amber or darker). Not too much liquid, you don't want to drown it (DH did this, so now he lets me add the liquid). Just enough to pool some liquid under/around the steaks. Then I take extra care to make little divots/craters on top that I spoon on marinade. Marinate for 1-4+ hours. Yummmmy!

The soy sauce and beer help the marinade seep in and, gawd, what's that word ... my daughter starts being loud and naughty everytime I get on the computer and I CAN'T think ... oh, tenderize.

You can leave out the cilantro and it still tastes good. I can't seem to find the dried cilantro anymore at the bulk bins (of course, it was something I liked, so they discontinued it) and I don't always have fresh on hand.

Grilling Ideas from Rocknut


Marinade: Italian dressing for a quick marinade, or melt a mixture of butter, rosemary, garlic, and oregano and a squirt of lemon juice (plus salt and pepper). Put marinade in a large ziplock bag with asparagus for at least half an hour before grilling. DELICIOUS!

Steaks: (Rib Steaks are my favourite) Any spice mixture you want. I favour a basic salt, pepper and cajun spice mix... DO NOT flip your steaks more than once! (sorry Jake, lol!)

Twice baked Potatoes: Microwave several baking potatoes till relatively soft, cut in half. Scoop insides out into a bowl (leaving a thin shell of potato), mash insides with butter, cream cheese, garlic, cooked broccoli (bacon, cheddar, asiago, onions, whatever you like!) put mixture back into shells, garnish with cheese, fresh herbs on top, and put on grill for 20 minutes or so...

Grilling Ideas from Simcha

Our new favorite thing to grill is a turkey London broil. Yummy and good for you! We usually top it with a teriyaki sauce.

Oh, and veggies on the grill (red peppers, zucchini, onions, mushrooms, etc.) are great. We usually kabob them just because they are easy to deal with that way. I light brush of olive oil and s&p is usually all we do for those.

Grilled Shrimp, from Tara

And last but not least, this is by far, our favorite grilling recipe. Everyone that comes over always requests it.

1/2 cup diced onion
1 diced jalapeno pepper
3 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. tabasco sauce
1/2 tsp. all spice
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1 lb. pre-cooked & cleaned (med 56-60) shrimp
Blend everything (Editor's note - except the shrimp!) in food processor until it is a consistent mixture and onion and pepper are finely diced. Pour over shrimp and cover completely. Let the shrimp marinate at least 45 minutes. This is enough for about a pound of medium shrimp. Skewer the shrimp & grill.

Grilling Ideas from Tara

Some of our favs are kabobs with either chicken or steak, bell peppers, onions & mushrooms. Corn on the cob is great on the grill...just peel back the husks & rip the hairs out, spread on some butter & seasoning salt or chili powder and fold the husks back on & throw on the grill. We like grilled salmon. Marinate some salmon filets in a marinade of soy sauce & brown sugar. Good ole' BBQ chicken is always great too. Asparagus is fabulous on the grill also!

Grilling Ideas from Maria

Grab a bottle of Garlic & Herb 30 minute marinade & dump it on some chicken that you've cut into 1 inch(or so) cubes. Cut up some onion(sweeter variety like Vidalia or Walla Walla) & bell pepper(I prefer yellow or orange b/c they're sweeter) also into 1 inch pieces. You can also use cherry tomatoes if you like. Take the chicken & veggies & alternately thread them onto skewers(if bamboo or wood, be sure to soak them first so they don't burn up). I like to spray the veggies w/ I Can't Believe It's Not Butter spray(butter flavor) & then grill them over med-high heat until chicken is done, turning every so often to each side of chicken is grilled. To make it easier, you may want to put the chicken & veggies on separate skewers.

Grilling Ideas from Sarah

Asparagus. Just go ahead and throw it on there. Whip up a hollandaise sauce inside (or on the burner attached to your grill). We make that as a side with almost every grill dinner we do. We go for the basics - turkey burgers, chicken with BBQ sauce, steak. I put a little butter on our steaks... a la Ruth's Chris. Yum...

Suggested by JulieZ - Spice-Rubbed Chicken and Vegetable Tacos with Cilantro Slaw and Chipotle Cream


1 1/2 cups sour cream

1 tablespoon chopped canned chipotle chiles* (about 2)

2 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar

1 tablespoon smoked hot Spanish paprika (Pimentón de la Vera)**

2 1/4 teaspoons chili powder

1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt

1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder

2 small zucchini, quartered lengthwise

1 red bell pepper, seeded, cut lengthwise into 3/4-inch-thick strips

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 pound skinless boneless chicken breast halves, each halved horizontally

12 5- to 6-inch-diameter corn tortillas, warmed

Cilantro Slaw

2 limes, each cut into 6 wedges

Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Whisk sour cream and chipotle chiles in small bowl; season with salt. Whisk brown sugar and next 5 ingredients in another small bowl to blend for spice rub.

Place zucchini and bell pepper on rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with canola oil; toss to coat. Sprinkle spice rub over both sides of vegetables and chicken.

Place chicken and vegetables on barbecue. Grill until vegetables are tender and browned in spots and chicken is cooked through, turning occasionally, about 5 minutes. Transfer to work surface; cut chicken crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick strips. Cut vegetables crosswise into 3/4-inch pieces. Place chicken and vegetables in large bowl; toss to blend.

Place chicken and vegetables, chipotle cream, tortillas, slaw, and lime wedges on table. Allow guests to assemble their own soft tacos.

*Chipotle chiles canned in a spicy tomato sauce, which is sometimes called adobo, are available at some supermarkets, at Latin markets, and at specialty foods stores.

**Available at specialty foods stores and from

Test-kitchen tip: To warm tortillas, wrap in foil in packets of six. Place packets at the edge of the grill; turn occasionally.

Makes 6 servings.

Bon Appétit



This would be good for a party/guests.

We used flour tortillas instead.

I halved the recipe for the two of us.

Go easy on the chipolte peppers until you know how hot you can take it … you can always dip in the leftover adobe sauce … we did ¾ of a chipolte chili from the can (without the seeds) and added it to 8 oz sour cream
(I pureed in my small food processor). I used the Embasa brand of chipolte peppers in adobe sauce.

this is how I did the spices on chicken … for half of the recipe

1 tablespoon of brown sugar

½ tablespoon paprika

1 teaspoon chili powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon garlic powder --- a little under a teaspoon

1 teaspoon onion powder --- a little under a teaspoon

I just used the paprika I had sitting on the shelf, other reviewers of the recipe added cayenne pepper if they didn’t have the called-for paprika and if they wanted it spicier, but it was hot enough for me.

I did not do the zucchini or bell peppers, I would do red bell peppers though

I put a little bit of oil on the chicken as I added the spices … I used safflower oil because I did not have canola

For the slaw mix, I did 1/3 of the recipe, except I went crazy on the fresh cilantro. I used safflower oil and I have used fresh lime or the bottle of lime juice that has been sitting in the fridge for forever, still turned out yummy. Add more lime to taste. I used sea salt.

We just nuked (aka micowaved) our tortillas as we made our tacos. You can dip into the sour cream mixture instead of putting it on each taco, in case, it’s too spicy for someone. I put it on mine and dip extra, yummmm!



12 ounces BAG of shredded three-color coleslaw mix (about 7 cups)

1 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

3 tablespoons canola oil

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Place coleslaw mix and cilantro in large bowl. Whisk canola oil, lime juice, salt, and pepper in medium bowl to blend. Add to cabbage mixture; toss to coat.

Makes about 5 cups.

Bon Appétit


June 2006

Grilled Chicken, an idea from JulieZ

chicken ... use a southwest or other spicey type of rub, I kind of start it out on a low heat on the grill, then move it to foil (boat/tray) to cook in some butter, oil, and/or white wine ... then sear again at the end. Helps keep it from getting too dry. Serve with rice/beans. You can put cheese and bacon over it too (and mushrooms) ... this is a non-diet food ideas from the Outback (too spendy to eat there).

Fish on the Grill!, from JulieZ

Salmon or halibut (or other type of fish)

I grill it on a piece of aluminum foil, make a little boat/tray out of it, with butter, lemon, capers, white wine, tarragon or other spice. You can always sear it on the actual grill at the very end (if it doesn't fall apart).

Grilled NY Strip Steaks, from Jake

I've got some 1" NY Strip steaks in the fridge right now. Salt, pepper, put on a grill on low for 25-30 minutes (should result in medium-rare to medium done). Flip every five minutes. When flipping, rotate 45 degrees to achieve diamond-style grill lines.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Macaroni and Cheese, from Jenifer

~6 tbls. butter
~1/4 c flour
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp pepper
~3 c milk (you may need less)
1 egg well beaten
1 small onion chopped
3 c chredded cheese (I like to split it between cheddar and sharp cheddar- and often exceed the 3 c)
8 oz cooked elbow macaroni
3/4 c breadcrumb (soft, homemade)

Prepare macaroni according to package directions, but leave al dente (slightly firm in the center). Drain and set aside). "Grease" a 3 qt baking dish; preheat oven to 375. Put half pasta in dish.

Place ~ 4 tbls butter in medium saucepan- melt. Add chopped onions- cook slightly (still slightly crunchy) and add flour...mix well. Slowly add in milk, stirring constantly to avoid lumps (sometimes I use my flat whisk). Add in pepper, nutmeg, salt and dry mustard. Temper beaten egg...then add slowly to pan, still stirring. Add cheese and melt- continue to stir. Fold cheese mixture into pasta- alternate adding additional pasta and chees sauce until all pasta is in dish and coated. Melt last 2 tbls of butter...mix into breadcrumbe. Spread breadcrumbs evenly over top. Bake for 30 mins or until golden brown on top.

Bastardized Paprikash Csirke (Chicken Paprika), an idea from Allison

For the chicken and pasta I did kind of a bastardized version of paprikash csirke (chicken paprika -- a Hungarian recipe) -- sauteed a bit of onion, threw in cut-up chicken breasts, seasoned with salt, pepper, and lots of paprika while cooking, then when the chicken was ready I added a bunch of sour cream -- probably about 8 ounces. Mixed it all together and served it over the noodles. Normally I'd do the onions in some bacon fat, I'd use a whole bird cut up into 10 pieces, when the liquid ran out I'd add some stock, and I'd use some half-sharp paprika in the mix rather than just the sweet paprika.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

What do do with Corned Beef, an idea from Amber

When I cook corned beef I use the slow cooker. Just add about one inch of water in the bottom, rub the seasoning on the meat and put in in the cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours. It will be so tender and yummy.

My favorite way to eat it is to put the meat into a soft sandwich roll with swiss cheese and mustard. Put it under the broiler for a minutes until cheese it melted and eat. It is ooooh sooo good this way.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Suggested by Allison - Pineapple and Spinach Salad

Here it is. It's from Julee Rosso's Fresh Start, although I've messed with it a bit and I don't bother measuring past the dressing stage. Really, who does for salads? She throws in some parsley and lime zest and doesn't have the coconut.

Pineapple and Spinach Salad

1/2 tsp. finely minced ginger
1/4 cup brown sugar
pinch cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp water
a bit of grated coconut
2 cups pineapple chunks (I just buy a good-sized can of them)
a good handful of coarsely chopped pecans
most of a bag of spinach (I measure soooo closely, lol!)
small sweet onion, thickly sliced

In a saucepan, combine ginger, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and water over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Add the pineapple and cook 15 minutes or so, until the sauce thickens and the pineapple's coated with the syrup. Stir in the coconut. Throw it in a salad bowl over the spinach and onion, toss well, serve immediately.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Suggested by Amy - Spinach Ricotta Fritatta

My mom and I are tag-teaming dinner tonight. It's spinach ricotta fritatta. It's baking as we speak. Mom saw it in the paper today and I happened to have the ingredients on hand.

You'll need:
*1/2 medium onion, diced
*4 cups baby spinach leaves
*1 c ricotta
*4 eggs or equivalent egg substitute
*veg oil spray

What to do: First, preheat the oven to 400.
Spray an oven-safe skillet w/the veg oil spray (we actually used a bit of olive oil) and cook the onions over medium heat until they start to carmelize and turn brown (isn't that the same thing?) along the edges.

While the onions are cooking, whisk the ricotta and the eggs together in a bowl. (Duh!)

After the onions are done, add the spinach and continue cooking over medium heat until it wilts.

Remove onion and spinach from heat and spread evenly over the bottom of the skillet. Pour egg/ricotta mixture over the veggies and place in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until it's done when you insert a knife in the center. Cut into slices and serve.

The recipe says you can sub the spinach for green beans, carrots, corn, or any other veggies you have on hand. You can do garlic for onion too. I have no idea what we're having with it or how it'll we'll see!!

Editor's Note: Spinach Ricotta Fritatta is fun to say!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Allison's tips on eating for cheap

Another thing that might help is to check on vegetarian recipe sites as beans are a good, cheap vegetarian source of protein. For example, here's the Vegetarian Times website's bean link:
If you want something about a specific sort of bean, just enter the bean type in the search engine and it'll bring up only those recipes. Some of them are incredibly inexpensive like this:

Do you have a crockpot? If you do, that makes it really easy to cook dried beans -- you soak them all night and then put them in the crockpot in the morning. Cans of beans are pretty inexpensive, but dried are even more so.

Friday, June 8, 2007

A tip from Nastia on getting kids to eat

Someone metioned Kalamata olives. I am impressed they are being sold all ove the world (For the record, Kalamata is a Greek city in Peloponese.) If you want your kid to eat kalamata olives put them in a tomato salad with some good virgin olive oil. The oil will take away the bitter sour taste, also kalamata olives are VERY good with feta cheese, oregano and peppers in the salad.

Suggested by Heather - Noodle Salad with Shrimp and Mint

Noodle Salad with Shrimp and Mint
Cooking Light, APRIL 2006


1 (7-ounce) package uncooked vermicelli
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound cooked shrimp, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped green onions
Lime wedges (optional)


Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.

Combine lime juice and next 6 ingredients (through garlic) in a small bowl, stirring to combine.

Combine pasta and shrimp in a large bowl. Drizzle with dressing; toss to coat. Sprinkle with onions. Serve immediately with lime wedges, if desired.


4 servings (serving size: 1 1/4 cups)

Nutritional Information

CALORIES 334(12% from fat); FAT 4.3g (sat 0.5g,mono 0.9g,poly 1g); PROTEIN 31.6g; CHOLESTEROL 223mg; CALCIUM 43mg; SODIUM 672mg; FIBER 1.8g; IRON 5.6mg; CARBOHYDRATE 43.4g

**NOTES** This is very fresh & summery. It doesn't really feel like a full meal. I made a few of subs... whole wheat spaghetti for vermicelli, brown sugar for honey, and 1 tsp dark sesame oil and 1 tsp chile sesame oil for the 2tsp dark (next time I'll just use 2 tsp chile).

Suggested by Heather - Thai Summer Squash and Tofu with Fresh Corn

Thai Summer Squash and Tofu with Fresh Corn
Cooking Light
, JULY 2000


1 teaspoon roasted peanut oil or vegetable oil
1 cup diced yellow squash
1 cup diced zucchini
1 (12.3-ounce) package reduced-fat extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
3 cups fresh corn kernels (about 4 ears)
1 cup light coconut milk
3/4 cup (1/2-inch) sliced green onions
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon mushroom or low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cups hot cooked basmati rice
2 tablespoons chopped unsalted cashews, toasted


Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the yellow squash, zucchini, and tofu; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir-fry for 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt, corn, and the next 8 ingredients (corn through jalapeno). Reduce heat, and simmer 8 minutes or until the corn is tender. Serve with rice. Sprinkle with cashews.


4 servings (serving size: 1 1/4 cups vegetables, 1/2 cup rice, and 1 1/2 teaspoons nuts)

Nutritional Information

CALORIES 283(28% from fat); FAT 8.7g (sat 3g,mono 2.4g,poly 2.1g); PROTEIN 12.9g; CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CALCIUM 78mg; SODIUM 462mg; FIBER 5.5g; IRON 3.1mg; CARBOHYDRATE 43.4g

**NOTES** You can't even notice the jalapeno. I will definitely try to get some more spice in there next time. I will try to find Thai basil to use and maybe add some crushed red pepper (I have super hot red pepper flakes from an Indian grocery).

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Roasted Chicken, an idea from Dani

We're having baked chicken.

1 whole fryer chicken
Lots of random spices

Mix spices in butter, rub under skin of chicken, bake at 375 until done. Usually takes about 1hr.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Beans & Rice, an idea from Stacy

One of my favorite easy meals....
White rice, black beans, shredded cheese (I usually use cheddar) and cilantro. Mix it all up and viola...garlic salt to taste (I'm an NaCl freak!)

Yum...very yummy and filling. For a healthier version you could use brown rice, but I honestly cannot figure out how to cook brown rice. Every time I make it, no matter how much water I use or how long I leave it in the rice cooker, it seems under done/a bit chewy/crunchy. hmmm?

Grilled Pineapple, by Snarlia

Take a fresh pineapple, peel, core and slice about 1/2 inch thick slices.
Dip slices in coconut milk then dredge in a mixture of sugar and cinnamon.
Cook on a medium hot grill, maybe 2-3 minutes per side.
Serve with vanilla ice cream, or just eat it plain as a side dish.

Banana Pudding Cake, by Karli

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 cup milk
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
2-4 very ripe bananas
1 package instant vanilla pudding

Cream sugar and butter with mixer until fluffy. Add eggs, milk, vanilla and bananas. Mix until bananas are mashed. Add flour, baking powder and pudding. Mix until all ingredients are well blended. Bake at 350° in greased cake pan for approx 45 minutes.
I frosted this with cream cheese frosting and it is very yum-o!

Monday, June 4, 2007

At 7:31 EST today, Stacy was issued one Brownie Point for the Brave and Excessive Reading of Many Posts (1918).

Red Curry Chicken, by Amber

It is a recipe inspired from dh's favorite Thai restaurant in San Jose: Krung Thai

2 cans unsweetened coconut milk
1 or 2 tbs red curry paste
1lb chicken breasts cut in cubes
2 or 3 tbs fish sauce
1 tbs sugar
2 cans bamboo shoots or 1lb green beans
1/2 c. fresh sweet basil
3 Thai chilies cut into strips

Pour half of coconut milk into saucepan. Add curry paste and mash and stir until blended. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and cook until coconut milk becomes oily. Add the rest of the coconut milk and cook for 30 minutes. Add chicken and bamboo shoots and cook for 15-20 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Stir in fish sauce and sugar. Add Basil and hot peppers. Stir. Serve with steamed rice. (take the peppers out before eating they are super hot!)

Turkey Burgers, by Jenifer

1 lb ground turkey
2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 c white wine
2 tbl white wine worcestershire
1/2 c minced fresh onion
1 tbl italian seasoning
whole wheat bread crumbs (seasoned with Ital seasoning, garlic and parmesean)
ground black pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients except for bread crumbs...make sure they are juicey (may need to tweak wine to accomplish this). If they become too juicey throw in some bead crumb (not too much). Dust in bread crumb. We do these under the broiler but they can also be grilled.
For all the burgers we provide fresh lettuce, cheeses (fresh sliced mozzarella, cheddar, etc), mushrooms, onions, etc. We also brush the rolls with butter (mixed with fresh minced garlic) and grill before serving.

I will make hand cut fries from white poatatoes and sweet potatoes and bake them. We will also have corn on the cob and fresh fruit medley.

Beet Burger, by Jenifer

Beet Burger
1 tbl finely grated raw beet
1/2 c cooked oats
1 c uncooked oats
1/2 c coarsely ground walnuts
1/4 c coarsely ground almonds
2 tbl sesame seeds
1 tbl instant veggie broth
1/4 c minced green pepper
1/4 c minced celery
1/4 c minced onion
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp ground sage
1/4 tsp mustard powder
2 tbl soy sauce
1 tbl nutritional yeast (this is optional)

Mix all ingredients together and form into patties...can be cooked on the grill!

*Hmmmm, I wonder who might like these?*

Veggie Burger, by Jenifer

Veggie Burger:
1/2 c cracked wheat*
1/4 lb green beans
1 sm zucchini
1 sm carrot, peeled
1/2 granny smith apple, peeled
1/2 c canned chick peas, rinsed and drained
1 tbs onion minced
1 tbs sesame tahini (or peanut butter)
1 1/2 tbs canola oil1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
ground black pepper to taste
1/2 c. whole wheat bread crumbs

Cook green beans until tender/crisp; drain & chop finely. Cook cracked wheat in 1 c boiling water for 1 in; remove from heat and cover. Grate zucchini, carrot & apple; squeeze out extra moisture by pressing in a dishtowel: combine with chopped beans.In food processor, blend chickpeas, onions, garlic, tahini, curry powder, chili powder, salt, pepper and canola oil until smooth; add to shredded veggie mixure. Drain cracked wheat in strainer (press with back of spoon to be sure to remove all excess liquid); add to bowl w/ veggies. Add bread crumbs and refrigerate for 1 hour. Shape into burgers (wet your hands for this one). To cook on grill, lightly brush with oil and cook 3 mins per side.

* cracked what and bulgur are NOT the same- bulgur is parboiled and dried and then has the outer layers stripped before cracking- not so with cracked wheat. You can find real cracked wheat in Indian Food Stores, commonly called daliya.

Bean Burgers, by Jenifer

Bean Burgers (another basic burger you can jazz up with any seasoning you want- asian, italian, mexucan, etc):
1 c. TVP (textured veggie protein)
1 c boiling water
1 tbs tomato paste
1 16 oz can beans, drained (pinto, kidney, etc)
1/4 c. whole wheat bread crumbs (I make my own from the bread we bake)
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tbs. soy sauce (or tamari)
1 tsp sweetner (sugar, honey,fruit juice..pick your poison)
salt and pepper to taste
additional whole wheat flour for dusting

Pour boiling water over TVP and tomato paste in bowl; stir; let rest for 10 minutes. Combine TVP mixture and all remaining ingredients except flour in food processor; pulse until mixture is almost a puree; shape mixture into burgers (it can be sticky so I sometimes flour my hands first). Dust lightly with flour and refrigerate for one hour. These can be grilled for about ten minutes per side as long as they are covered with foil.

Tofu Burgers, by Jenifer

Tofu Burgers: (very versatile basic burger you can play with in terms of seasonings)
1 lb tofu (I prefer the firm)
1/2 c whole wheat flour
3 tlb. nutritional yeast (this is inactive yeast- makes a good cheese substitute)
2 Tlb. veggie boullion powder
2 tlb soy sauce
1/4 c sesame seeds
1 sm potato (scrubbed)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 sm onion (or onion powder to taste)cracked ground pepper to taste

Grind potato, tofu and onion in food processor- be careful not to make it too fine. Mix in remaining ingredients and form into burger shape. I usually bake these on a slightly oiled cookie sheet for 15-20 mins at 350º. (I guess they could also be fried)

Green Beans with Tomatoes, by Allison

olive oil
minced ginger
a few cloves garlic, minced
some mustard seeds
a little bit of red pepper flakes
green beans
tomatoes (a can of diced toms. or about the same amount of fresh toms diced -- tonight I halved cherry toms)
salt and pepper

Warm a skillet over medium heat. Drizzle in the olive oil, then add the ginger, garlic, mustard seeds, and red pepper flakes. Heat until fragrant. Add the green beans. When they start to look that brighter green of cooked green beans, add the tomatoes. Continue to saute until the tomatoes are heated through. Salt and pepper to taste, then serve.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Crunchy Chicken, by Karli

Tonight we had what my kids call "Crunchy Chicken".
Mix seasoned bread crumbs with grated parmesean cheese and coat chicken breasts.
Cover baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray, put chicken on pan, and spray top of chicken. Cook at 350° for about 15 minutes, turn chicken and cook for another 5-10 minutes

Friday, June 1, 2007

WFD Extra...Organic Spirits, shared by Jenifer

Organic vodkas:
Liquid Ice organic vodka (cert. organic) made from blend of grains
Ocean Vodka made w/desalinated seawater from Hawaii
OrangeV made w/FL oranges
Rain Vodka madefrom corn from kentucky
Square One Vodka made from American rye
Vodka 14 colorado organic vodka

Organic Rums:
Papagayo Rum (white or spiced) cert organic
Rivers Royal Grenadian Rum from distillery on organic banana plantation (in Grenada)

Organic Gins:
Bluecoat American Dry Gin distilled w/organic herbs (available in eastern states)
Juniper Green London Dry Gin cert organic

Organic Whiskey:
Benromach Oraganic Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whiskey cert organic
Highland Harvest Organic Scotch Whiskey cert organic

Organic Brandy:
Peak Spirit organic brandy, grappa, euro style eaux de vie

Organic MIxers:
Madmix 3 cert organic flavorings- citrus margarita, Pomegranate Cosmopolitan, & Lavendar Lemon Drop
I am sure there are others, but this was the list someone shared with me recently

Eggplant Parmesan, by Allison

a couple cups tomato sauce like for pasta (I made my own, if you use jarred sauce, go ahead and use that)
4 oz mozzarella, grated
some fresh basil
2 oz Parmesan, grated
salt and pepper

Slice the eggplant, salt the slices and let them sit for half an hour or so. Then wipe them off and spray both sides with oil. Shove them under the broiler for 5 minutes, then flip and broil for another 5 minutes. Salt and pepper them to taste.Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Put about a third of the sauce in a casserole dish, layer half the eggplant on top, cover with the mozzarella, basil leaves, and Parmesan, the rest of the eggplant, and then the rest of the tomato sauce. Cook for half an hour.